As the official story goes, a boy by the name of Henry used to frequently visit the Williamson Candy Store in Chicago. He would flirt with the girls that worked there who would respond with “Oh, Henry!” Later when Mr. Williamson needed a name for a new candy bar, he remembered the remarks and the rest was history. Or was it?
It’s a charming story, certainly one more plausible than the rumor that the candy bar was named after baseball legend, Henry “Hank” Aaron, who was born 14 years after the confection was introduced to the public. But, charming as it may be, it fails to mention one little fact – the candy bar was actually invented by a Mr. Tom Henry of Arkansas City, Kansas.
This delightful hunk of peanuts, caramel, and nougat, and covered in a layer of milk chocolate, was invented by Tom at his “Peerless Candy Factory” in 1919. He named it the “Tom Henry Bar” and eventually sold the recipe to the Curtis Candy Factory in 1920, who renamed it “Oh Henry!”. An aggressive marketing campaign, which consisted of placing a number of “Oh Henry!” stickers around town, and thereby creating a buzz with the locals, proved to be successful.
The candy bar stayed popular for many a decade, but in recent years, it has become much more difficult to find, other than through online sellers and the ocassional retro candy store. Still, it has left its small mark on popular culture. Baseball player Henry Rodriguez grew accustomed to a shower of Oh Henry! bars from his adoring fans during home games through much of the 90s. Not unlike a rain delay, games were often postponed while scores of candy bars were removed from the playing field. The candy bar was also made reference to on the hit TV series, Seinfeld, where a recurring character was supposedly a heiress to the Oh Henry! candy fortune.
An Oh Henry! bar is denser (and smaller in size) than your average candy bar, but what it lacks in girth, it certainly makes up for in flavor. And probably no other candy bar, other than the Baby Ruth, has a more colorful history of conflicting stories about its name.
If you have fond memories of devouring these delicious candy bars, we would love to hear your recollections in our comments section, as we tip our hats to this memorable confection that is sadly fading from existence.