Curtiss Candy Company

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Box of Curtiss' Baby Ruth candy bars at General Store in Portsmouth, North Carolina.

The Curtiss Candy Company was founded in 1916 by Otto Schnering near Chicago, Illinois. Wanting a more "American-sounding" name (due to anti-German sentiment during World War I), Schnering named his company using his mother's maiden name.

Their first confectionery item was Kandy Kake, later refashioned in 1920 as the log-shaped Baby Ruth.[1] Their second confectionery item was the chocolate-covered peanut butter crunch Butterfinger, which was introduced in 1926.[2] In 1931, Curtiss marketed the brand by sponsoring famous air racer, John H. Livingston, in the Baby Ruth Aerobatic Team flying the air-racer Howard "Mike" at airshows, and sponsoring Livingston's Monocoupe racer in the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race.[3][4] The Jolly Jack candy was included in army rations during World War II.[5]

In 1964, Standard Brands purchased Curtiss Candy Company. Standard Brands merged with Nabisco in 1981. In 1990, RJR Nabisco sold the Curtiss brands to Nestlé.

The Baby Ruth / Butterfinger factory, built in the 1960s, is located at 3401 Mt. Prospect Rd. in Franklin Park, Illinois. Interstate 294 curves eastward around the plant, where a prominent, rotating sign, resembling a gigantic candy bar, is seen. It originally read "Curtiss Baby Ruth" on one side and "Curtiss Butterfinger" on the other. It was changed to read "Nestlé" following the acquisition.

A "Curtiss Baby Ruth" sign was on an apartment building across from Wrigley Field for several decades.[6][7] Wrigley and the Curtiss plant are both on Addison Street, although more than 10 miles apart.


  1. ^ Smith, A.F. (2012). Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat. Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of what We Love to Eat. ABC-CLIO. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-0-313-39393-8. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  2. ^ Batchelor, B. (2008). American Pop: Popular Culture Decade by Decade. Non-Series. ABC-CLIO. p. 311. ISBN 978-0-313-36411-2. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  3. ^ Dennis Hoffman. "Winged Passion Iowa Aviation Legends". The Iowan.
  4. ^ Sport Aviation. April 1959.
  5. ^ Chmelik, Samantha. "Otto Y. Schnering." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 4, edited by Jeffrey Fear. German Historical Institute. Last modified April 04, 2013.
  6. ^ Johnson, S. (2008). Chicago Cubs Yesterday & Today. MVP Books. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-7603-3246-7. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  7. ^ Wrigley Field. Potomac Books. 2006. p. 254. ISBN 978-1-61234-411-9. Retrieved October 29, 2017.

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