W.H. Luden Candy Company was established in 1879 by William H. Luden when he was twenty. During his first year in business at 35 N. Fifth Street as the sole employee, he produced 30,000 pounds of candy. He continued to add employees and relocated to larger manufacturing facilities twice, finally locating to 200 North Eighth Street. He invented the menthol cough drop eliminating the need for the menthol vials that cold sufferers had carry with them to relieve their symptoms.
Not only did he employ high standards, but he was a great innovator as well. He invented a peanut shelling device, lined packages with wax paper to keep his candy fresh and was great at marketing his products. He sold his candy door-to-door and persuaded shopkeepers to display and stock his wares. He gave cough drops to railroad workers, gaining national exposure for his product.
In 1927, he sold the business to Food Industries, the Dietrich family ,under whose leadership the company continued to grow. Employing more than 1200, they produced 500 varieties of candy, introducing the 5th Avenue Bar in 1936. Luden’s strove to provide customers with quality products at affordable prices. Post War years saw the introduction of Coc-O-Nut-O, Almond Royal, Raspberry Royal, MelloMint Patty, MelloCreme Patties and Mrs. Miller’s Cup. In 1967, Frank Zappa wrote a sound track for a Luden’s cough drops TV commercial. Luden’s was sold to Hershey’s Food Corporation in 1986 who sold the name and brand in 2001.
Article Researched & Written by Gail Corvaia