We owe our sinful Valentine’s Day chocolates to the prudish Cadburys

Richard and George Cadbury, the lads who made Valentine’s Day candy and wealthy, grew up in a house described as “ascetic, disciplined, and extreme.”

This was the 1840s – Victorian occasions, England.

John Cadbury, the boys’ father, got here from an extended line of Quakers. He wouldn’t permit his household to personal a piano or any chair with armrests, nor would he consent to touring by way of carriage. “That might have been,” a household biography stated, “a weak concession to the flesh.”

Simply to state the apparent: The Cadburys didn’t indulge.

So it is one among enterprise historical past’s nice ironies that Richard and George Cadbury, Quaker and self-denying to their cores, constructed a conglomerate of indulgence. By promoting delectable candies in cardboard bins with fancy artwork, even shaping the containers into hearts for Valentine’s Day, the brothers reworked chocolate from a substance individuals drank for power or to alleviate constipation right into a decadent, even sensual, product.

“The Cadburys,” Carol Off wrote in her chocolate historical past, “discovered a method to attraction to their ambiguous prudery, enjoying up the innocence of chocolate as a sensual indulgence. It was the agency’s advertising genius that first made chocolate part of Valentine’s Day in Nice Britain and a logo of romantic love.”

Chocolate maker George Cadbury. Library of Congress photograph.

For the Cadbury brothers, it was all about survival.

In 1861, of their mid-20s, they took over their father’s failing tea enterprise. Tea was turning into a commodity. They switched gears to chocolate, perfecting a approach to squeeze cocoa butter out of cocoa, which made the stuff tasty with out utilizing sugar and different components.

The Cadburys marketed their cocoa, and later their chocolate bars, very similar to an natural producer would immediately.

Their slogan: “Completely pure, subsequently greatest.”

Like different companies that even in the present day should negotiate the pressures of capitalism with the house owners’ spiritual beliefs, the Cadburys needed to weigh efficiently advertising their product – particularly for Valentine’s Day – towards their Quaker values.

They went with the means-to-an-finish answer, utilizing their income to deal with their staff with advantages and a kind of dignity not seen on the time. Cadbury staff got free well being care, together with dental, which historian Charles Dellheim referred to as “particularly helpful in a chocolate manufacturing unit.” There have been pensions, programs for instructional development and even swimming classes.

“The dedication to…

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