February 6, 2007


And the man behind the brand is...
David Clark

David Lytle Clark, the "Pittsburgh Candy King", came to western Pennsylvania from County Derry, Ireland at the age of 8 in 1872. He earned his first money toting market baskets along the city streets for pennies.

At age 19 he opened a one-room candy business. While his one employee, a cook, concocted the candy Clark drove from store to store in a wagon selling it. In 1886 Clark chewed his first gum. He asked a druggist how the new novelty was made and learned about chicle. Clark went to New York and returned with a bale of chicle.

Clark colored his new gum pink because he thought it was pretty. He flavored his new gum with mountain leaves because as a boy he liked to chew them. Clark's personal tastes appealed to the market. His gum sold so fast he had to open a new factory to meet the demand. The D.L. Clark Company was big business.

Over the next 30 years Clark made candies, including a big-selling candy-coated popcorn. In 1917, as a treat for soldiers, Clark made his first 5¢ bar, a honey-combed ground roasted peanut bar covered with milk chocolate called the "Clark bar". The wrapper encouraged buyers to "Try eating a Clark bar every day between 2 & 4 p.m. Drink a glass of water and see how much pep you have when the day is done."

It must have been an energetic America at day's end because Clark was soon selling one million of his chocolate bars a day. In 1981 the Largest Candy Bar In The World was created - a monster 3100-pound Clark bar 15 feet long and 20 inches thick. It was the equivalent of 19,000 Clark bars.

Clark did his best to ensure the continuance of his family candy business. He sired 13 children with his first wife and when she died, he married her sister. But one thing could not survive. The Clark bar went out of production in 1994.

No comments: