Huyler's Cocoa Tin


This yellow, rectangular tin with black lettering and design was used to store and market Huyler's drinking chocolate.

In 1846, John Huyler was born to David Huyler who ran a bakery in New York City. By the early 1860s, John was working in his father’s shop, learning the trade. In 1874, he opened his own store, a confectionary, and within a few years he had opened three more stores. By the time of his death in 1910, he owned 54 store fronts with 14 factories and around 2000 employees supplying his shops.

Chocolate had been known and loved by Native Americans in Central and South America for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the first Spanish explorers in the late 1400s and early 1500s. Cacao beans were so highly prized by Mayans and Aztecs that they were used as currency in many areas of the Americas. When first taken back to Europe by the Spanish, the chocolate drink continued to be produced exclusively for the enjoyment of royalty or the extremely wealthy. As the cacao bean gradually made its presence known throughout Europe, it still remained trapped in this exclusive section of society well into the 19th century.

The chocolate trade to North America began more than 300 years ago, primarily centered in or near major port cities of the time, such as New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Newport, RI. Due to lower transportation costs, chocolate was often less expensive in the Americas than in Europe and therefore had a broader consumer base. The Industrial Revolution radically changed chocolate production and helped propel it into the hearts and stomachs of the working class. Instead of being a labor intensive product, it became entirely machine made reducing costs even further in the late 19th and early 20th century. During this time, chocolate went from being something a person drank to being something to eat, finally becoming a treat for the masses.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: New York, New York

See more items in: Work and Industry: Agriculture, Food, Advertising


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: ZZ.RSN80525Z99

Object Name: containercontainer, cocoa

Physical Description: tin (overall material)Measurements: overall: 4 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in; 11.43 cm x 8.89 cm


Record Id: nmah_1379629

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