A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 28, 2006
Chocolate Milk
Chocolate milk sounds so simple. When and where did it start?

It appears that "chocolate milk" (or "chocolated milk") began in the South and came to New York in the 1920s.

(WorldCat Record)
Title: Dr. N. Gerber's celebrated milk food, chocolate-milk in powder, and new-process condensed milk.
Corp Author(s): American-Swiss Milk Product Co.
Publication: New York : Charles F. Bloom, printer,
Year: 1881
Description: 31 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
References: Romaine, L.B. A guide to American trade catalogs,; 1744-1900,; p. 151.
SUBJECT(S)
Descriptor: Milk trade -- Catalogs.
Milk -- Catalogs.
Infant formulas -- Catalogs.
Condensed milk -- Catalogs.
Named Corp: American-Swiss Milk Product Co. -- Catalogs.
Genre/Form: Trade catalogs
Trade catalogues
Note(s): In original paper wrappers.
Document Type: Book
Entry: 19980429
Update: 19980429
Accession No: OCLC: 39033197
Database: WorldCat

(WorldCat Record)
Title: Processing chocolate milk to reduce sedimentation in the finished product /
Author(s): Zern, Leidy D.
Year: 1929
Description: 32 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Language: English
SUBJECT(S)
Note(s): Typescript./ Vita./ Includes bibliographical references./ Dissertation: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Maryland, 1929.
Responsibility: by Leidy D. Zern.
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation (deg); Manuscript text (mtx)
Document Type: Book
Entry: 19820805
Update: 20020624
Accession No: OCLC: 8661901
Database: WorldCat

23 September 1910, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 9:
CHILDREN POISONED
BY CHOCOLATE MILK

16 December 1919, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 11:
Nickel Is Price Ordered
by Manget for Tea, Co-
coa, Chocolate Milk and
Similar Drinks.

October 1922, The Milk Dealer, pg. 45 ad:
The Viscolizer
IS NOW READY FOR
USE IN PREPARING
CHOCOLATED
MILK

October 1922, The Milk Dealer, pg. 51 ad:
Write to "400"
(...)
They wanted to induce children to drink more milk. And this led to the idea of chocolate milk.

But I found, as hundreds of dairymen have found, that good chocolated milk is a problem. The ordinary mixture is not very popular.

Walter K. Jahn, the famous food chemist, had a winter home in our section (Jacksonville, FL -- ed.). I came into contact with him, and explained our problem to him. He supplied me a chocolate syrup which he had spent 11 years in perfecting -- a syrup with rico flavor, a syrup which blends with milk. And he gave me a formula, using skimmed milk and whole milk, to make an ideal chocolated milk.

At first we put this out in our regular 8-ounce bottles. It became at once the most popular drink in Jacksonville. Ot sold six times as well the first summer as another chocolate milk without this quality and flavor.

Walter K. Jahn then organized The "400" Products Co. to supply this syrup to dairymen. He named the drink "400."

October 1922, The Milk Dealer, pg. 108:
Chocolate Milk.

In addition to the chocolate drink known as "400" and also the one marketed as "Angel Drink" which in each case is marketed and bottled as a beverage through the milk dealer, attention has now been called to a chocolate syrup known as "Cho-Cho." In this case the dealer sells the syrup which is of a malted flavor the syrup being used in the milk by the consumer as desired.

We will be interested to know whether there are any other products of this kind upon the market with which our members may be familiar and which have not been drawn to our attention.

November 1922, The Milk Dealer, pg. 67 ad:
Sell Your Surplus Milk
by bottling

"CHOCOLISHUS"
MILK
or by selling CHOCOLISHUS in small cans to your customers

IT IS A SWEET LIQUID CHOCOLATE

Made under a patented Process and mixes readily with cold milk
Ten Million Gallons of Milk Have Been Sold With It

THE CHOCOLISHUS CO., 1502-1504-1506 Brown Ave., Norfolk, Va.

November 1922, The Milk Dealer, pg. 73:
The Story of Angel-Drink

How its Use Increased From a Single Dairy to Hundred During the Short Period of Four Months

In May, 1922, a milk company desiring to increase its business engaged the service of Carl D. Spencer and Company, business experts, for that purpose.

A meeting was called to discuss ways and means of increasing the milk company's business.

At the meeting the officials of the milk company told the representatives of Carl D. Spencer and Company that they had planned to put out a chocolate milk which was to be known and sold under the name of Famous Chocolate Milk.

The Spencer experts frowned upon the idea of using a name which could be used by any of this milk company's competitors, taking the stand that all of the advertising done by this concern would go to stimulate the chocolate milk business of any competitor who desired to manufacture and sell chocolate milk, and also that any interest aroused through the advertising of this milk company in chocolate milk would merely develop a demand for chocolate milk in the soda fountains, and the soda dispenser would, of course, mix his own chocolate milk, using perhaps the milk purchased from a competitor of the milk company doing the advertising.

Carl D. Spencer and Company took the matter in hand for the client, originated the name Angel-drink, and put the campaign across so successfully and at such small expense that Angel-drink immediately attracted the attention of others. (...) The first bottle of Angel-drink ever manufactured and sold was put out on the seventh of June. (...)

December 1922, The Milk Dealer, pg. 4 ad:
Angel drink.

January 1923, The Milk Dealer, pg. 18 ad:
Angel drink
The Standardized
Malted Chocolate Milk

January 1923, The Milk Dealer, pg. 43 ad:
Equipment for Chocolate Milk
(...)
Headquarters for all Chocolate Milk Supplies
including "school" straws

Cherry-Bassett-Winner Company

January 1923, The Milk Dealer, pg. 92:
"400"
Some Opinions on What This Chocolated Drink Means to Dairymen.

May 1923, The Milk Dealer, pg. 57
Chocolated Dairy Drink Section
Information of Special Interest to those Interested
in Promoting Sales of This New Drink

May 1923, The Milk Dealer, pg. 60:
Views and Reviews of Chocolated Drinks Trade

May 1923, The Milk Dealer, pg. 61 ad:
CHOCOLATED
MILK DRINKS
THE DAIGGER CORPORATION

May 1923, The Milk Dealer, pg. 74:

By H. BLOUNT HUNTER

"CHOCOLATED milk" or chocolate milk, as it is called at the soda fountain, is not a new thing. It is not a recent invention or discovery, except as an adjunct or addition to the business of the milk dealer.

For more than a generation chocolated dairy drinks have been sold at thousands of soda fountains, under the name of chocolate milk shakes, or simply, "Chocolate milk." Various kinds of mixing machines havbe been invented for mixing, from the old time mixer that went up and down like a churn dasher, to the modern electric mixer that is now used at most every soda fountain.
(...)
Chocolate milk has been running "neck and neck" with the Cola drinks at the fountains of the South for the past ten years, and this means that it is a bigger seller in this section than beer ever was.
(...)
The sale of chocolate milk by the milk dealers or dairymen is comparatively now. Among the places where it was first sold were the soldiers camps in the South; but the supply of milk was too limited, and the amount of chocolate syrup available at that time was insufficient to meet the needs of the soda fountains, because of the prevailing sugar shortage.

Within the past two years the manufacturers of chocoalte syrup, which had proved a success in the South, began to develop the chocolate milk business in the North and West, where they found an abundance of milk, and greater opportunities than existed in the southern states. We found that the appetite for chocolate and milk is just as strong in the North as in the South. It is simply a matter of satisfying this appetite.

May 1923, The Milk Dealer, pg. 110:
Chocolated Drinks Help Milk Sales

8 June 1925, New York Times, pg. 3:
Inspectors have reported on samples of chocolate milk sold in bottles.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Wednesday, June 28, 2006 • Permalink