The following history information on
inventory of milk chocolate was written by Francois Auguste
Peter, Sr. (1898-1991), grandson of Daniel Peter. This history was
shared with me by Marcia Chalupnicki, granddaughter of
Francois A. Peter. The following information is unedited.
Daniel Peter - The Inventor of Milk
Peter was born in the village of Moudon, located in the Canton of Vaud,
in beautiful, mountainous Switzerland in 1836. Peter attended school and
graduated there. At the age of 19, his professor of Latin became sick
and the local Board of Education asked Daniel to instruct the Latin
class. As one can imagine, this was a difficult task for him as he had
to teach students who were only one or two years his junior;
nevertheless, he gave a good account of himself and his record is good
on this score.
During the summer of 1852, Peter worked in
the local food store of the widow, Madame Clement, who also owned a
candle-making factory for the locality. The conscientious, dedicated
working qualities of Daniel Peter were first evidenced here and he
gained the esteem of Madame Clement. Four years later, Daniel and his
brother, Julien, operated the candle-making factory while Madame Clement
retained its control. The two brothers developed and improved the
candles, which at that time in history were the only light source, and
they sold well locally. In fact, the demand was such that the factory
required a larger working space, and the brothers purchased a building
at 19 Rue des Bosquets, in Vevey, Switzerland.
The purchase of this building was made
from the estate of Francois Louis Cailler. It was through Madame Clement
that the young Daniel Peter was introduced to the Cailler family and
through them, he met Fanny Cailler, the eldest daughter of the family,
whom he married on October 1, 1863.
In the United States, a Colonel Drake of
Pennsylvania had discovered oil in that state in 1859 and subsequently,
kerosene was introduced in Switzerland about 1864 or 1865 which greatly
affected the candle-making business of Daniel and Julien Peter. Daniel
realized that the earnings from the candle-making business would not
suffice for both brothers n ow, so he proposed to his brother-in-law,
August Cailler, an association for the manufacture of chocolate,
however, this did not take place. It appeared to Daniel that the
chocolate business had received such a favorable public reaction that it
would soon overcome the Caillers' capacity to produce the product. It
was for this reason that Daniel decided to go into business on his own.
Peter was a very determined young man and he realized that in going on
his own in this business, he would be a competitor to his wife's family,
however, his lovely Fanny gave him her full confidence and support.
Julien Peter remained in the candle-making
business and used only a part of the building originally established for
this purpose. Daniel Peter installed his chocolate business in the
remainder of the space. It is interesting to note that sometime during
this period, Daniel Peter, in order to know as much about the chocolate
business as he could, worked as an employee of a chocolate factory in
Lyon, France, for a few weeks. He spent his time in the evenings and on
Sundays documenting the technical questions raised in the manufacture of
chocolate in order to know the mechanics and chemistry of the business.
He also studied the cocoa harvest and transportation of the basic cocoa
ingredients from the tropics.
Within a few years, Daniel Peter had
formed a strong friendship with his neighbor, Henry Nestle, who had
settled in Vevey, Switzerland, about 1843. Nestle had developed a
process to make baby food in which he used what was then called a "milky
flour." It was at this point in his life that Daniel Peter asked himself
the question, "Why not try to make a chocolate containing milk?" This
idea stayed with the young Daniel Peter to the point of becoming an
obsession with him. He further realized that in order to stay in the
chocolate market, already principally controlled by Caliller, Suchard,
Kohler, and others, he must produce a new product that would become
pleasing and desired by the consumer.
Peter said of this period in his life:
not take me long to convince myself that if I wanted to
place myself and my product within the already existing
factories, I must try for a specialty. Therefore, it
appeared that if I could unite the milk and the
chocolate in a state which would assure conservation and
satisfactory transportation, I would make useful work
for many, while being sure at the same time that the
ownership of this industry would be difficult to exploit
In 1869, Julien Peter died, leaving Daniel
in charge of both businesses and still carrying on the major problems of
research associated with the manufacture of milk chocolate. Daniel
Peter, therefore, gave up the candle-making business at this point and
devoted every waking hour to the manufacture of milk chocolate.
At this time, Peter's personnel consisted
of one employee and his wife. He manufactured his chocolate products in
the daytime and did his office work and research in the evenings and
often late into the night. He obtained a stable product, composed of
cocoa, sugar and milk that was unlike the milk-flour in baby food used
by Nestle. Wheat flour, as used by Nestle, has little if any fatty body,
while cocoa contains, depending upon its source and the degree of
maturity of the harvested bean, from 45% to 55% of fatty matter.
As was well know to most persons
interested in the product at the time, water ad fat do not mix. Not only
is the mixture unstable, but the fatty product is simply not suitable to
work with. Therefore, it remained that a certain percentage of the fat
had to be extracted from the cocoa bean. This process was known and was
relatively simple. It was also important to dehydrate, at least
partially, as much as possible of the water content - 87% to 89% from
the milk. The equipment for this operation was complex and complicated.
It required various tools and machines which were relatively costly and
quite difficult to obtain in those days. In fact, such an installation
represents in itself an industry which should be and would become
integrated into the making of milk chocolate. Unfortunately, Daniel
Peter was not in a position to acquire this equipment.
In persistently seeking the process for a
more economical manufacture of the baby food, Daniel Peter started his
laboratory work by evaporating the milk itself in the free air, which
was a time consuming process and required constant surveillance and
attention. By mixing first sugar with the milk, the evaporation was
aided, but it was hard to determine the te proportions of each product.
As it was simply not enough to merely taste a finished product, weeks
led to months in the checking of each individual test. Peter conducted
many tests, all of which were quite expensive and none of which produced
the desired results.
Speaking of his early tests, Peter
expressed himself at the dedication of the Orbe factory on the send day
of February, 1901:
tests did not give or produce the milk chocolate as we
know it today. Much work took place and after having
found the proper mixture of cocoa and milk - a mixture I
was told was impossible to obtain - my tests, I thought,
were successful. I was happy, but a few weeks later, as
I examined the contents, an odor of bad cheese or rancid
butter came to my nose. I was desperate, but what was I
do do? go back and try a different procedure? Being as
it was, I did not lose courage, but I continued to work
as long as circumstances allowed."
In 1873, Peter went to Guin, a canton of Fribourg, for the purpose of ordering a sugared condensed milk from the
Anglo-Swiss there who had jut opened a branch of the Cham factory. Peter
expressed himself to the director of that factory in this manner:
condensed milk is to be used in the fabrication of a new
item, which I am certain we will require before too long
in very large amounts. I anticipate, therefore, the
ordering of large quantities in due time."
At this time, the American brothers, known
as the Page brothers, had come to Cham, Switzerland, but they were not
yet in competition with Henry Nestle since they only made condensed milk
while Nestle was producing the "milky flour" for the baby food process.
There was in fact, actually no competition with Peter's friend, Nestle.
The results of the tests, however,
conducted by Daniel Peter toward the manufacture of milk chocolate did
improve. Peter asked that his agents put his product for sale in cooler
and dryer parts of the territory served by the factory. It is
interesting to not that Daniel Peter sold a small quantity which he
personally guaranteed to take back for refund should the merchandise
prove unsatisfactory. It can here be seen that Daniel was optimistic,
but unfortunately too much so.
The immediate produce was favorably
received, but after a few weeks, Peter received the unsold merchandise
back. It had become rancid and he received some unflattering
commentaries from his outlets because of this. He recognized that the
criticism was justified. It turned out that the milk from Guin was not
sufficiently condensed and therefore Peter hesitated to order more until
he had achieved his goal for milk chocolate. He needed to avail himself
of a proper vacuum with other supporting equipment which he could not
afford at that time.
Peter then equipped a small room which he
called a "drying room" in which the product he made was transformed into
flakes, spread out on trays, and exposed to a high temperature for
further evaporation. This material was weighted before and after its
exposure in order to determine the amount of evaporation. For Peter, the
results were favorable. He was convinced that he was near his goal. He
wished to confirm for himself these last results by getting all the
moisture that he could out of the drying process. Finally, in 1875,
Daniel Peter obtained his impossible victory. Through his hard work, he
could not offer to his friendly dealers fro the Lac Leman region of
Switzerland a milk chocolate of which the normal length of shelf life
Very quickly throughout this region of
Western Europe, the Daniel Peter milk chocolate found favorable
acceptance, and the demand far exceeded the supply, making it necessary
for Daniel to increase his production. The big decision for Peter had
now to be made. He obtained sufficient credit from Swiss bankers to
install a small copper vacuum and the equipment for manufacture with a
capacity of from 60 to 80 liter. Difficulties and worries were never
spared Peter during those long, tiring years, and although he declared
himself pleased with the results of all testing, he still wanted to
improve upon the taste of his milk chocolate.
With tireless effort, Peter worked out the
desired proportions, the choice of the best cocoas from all over the
world, searching for a proper balance between bitterness in the choice
of the cocoa, or an exaggerated sweetness from too much sugar. He sought
guidance from all those who would help him, from people in the area, his
family, friends, clients, and workers, asking their opinions during the
testing period. Finally in 1887, Daniel Peter adopted the original
formula for what was to become the first successful milk chocolate in
the entire world. Peter called his product, "Gala" from the Greek,
which means, "from the milk."
It should be noted by all that since the
early 20th century, the countries of Europe have been producing milk
chocolate of varying qualities. It should also be understood that the
development of the process by Daniel Peter was created in the community
of Vevey, with the Canton of Vaud, in Switzerland, and further pointed
out that the first chocolate process, although not milk
chocolate, was also created in Vevey, Switzerland, by Francois Louis
Cailler, at the age of twenty-three, upon his return to that community
from France and Italy in 1819.
In 1901, the Peter milk chocolate was
introduced in the British Isles. That same year, the city of Vevey,
Switzerland, was unable to supply sufficient milk nor a large enough
labor force to meet the expansion of the Peter plant. Therefore, a
second milk chocolate plant was built in Orbe, Switzerland, which is
also located in the Canton of Vaud. In 1904, Daniel Peter merged his
successful operation with Amedee Kohler Chocolate Company located in
Echandens, about three miles from Lausonne and fifteen miles from Vevey,
and traded under the firm's name of Societe Generale Suisse de Chocolat.
Peter and Kohler sent a specialty team of four trained men with their
families to be the general overseers of the company and to head various
sections in the Fulton plant. Mr. G. Dentan was in charge of the
treatment of the cocoa; Mr. Louis Michaud was in charge of the
processing of the milk; Mr. Ernest Brechon was charged with the mixing
and refining process for the manufacturer. Mr. Louis Ducret was
responsible for conching and moulding. Mrs. Dentan was in charge of the
wrapping and a Mrs. Gustave Ansermrt was the director of the entire
In 1904, an agreement as reached
establishing that the Societe Generale Suisse de Chocolat would
manufacture a new chocolate with less cocoa and more sugar, thereby
creating a sweeter milk chocolate which would be produced by that firm
under the name of Nestle, and that all of the chocolate products would
be sold worldwide by the Nestle selling organization. In 1911, the
descendants of the F. L. Cailler Company joined to form the now famous
company name of Peter, Cailler, and Kohler, Swiss Chocolate Company.
Finally, in 1929, this company and Nestle merged in what was then known
as the Nestle Anglo-Swiss Corporation.
Daniel Peter, the inventor of milk
chocolate for the entire world, died on November 4, 1919. At his funeral
in Switzerland, he was highly eulogized for his work and his kind
generosity towards the organization of cultural groups which are still
active and befit all of the people of that country, and the region of
history information is from the Journal Francais
d'Amerique, Vol. 8, No. 21, 24 October - 6 November
1986, by Laurent Bijard of the French Press Agency. This
article was translated by Francois Auguste Peter, Sr.
grandson of Daniel Peter, for his relatives. This history
was shared with me by Marcia Chalupnicki, granddaughter of
Francois A. Peter. The following information is unedited.
How the Small Squares of Tenderness were Invented
Instead of the Swiss
chocolate, Vevey is presently celebrating the 150th
anniversary of the birth of Daniel Peter, the one who
revolutionized the art of the chocolate tablet by inventing
In changing the color of
chocolate on a beautiful day in 1875, Daniel Peter offered a
miraculous second breath to an industry, still in it's early
growth, on the shore of Lac Leman.
In fact, the enterprising
families who produced the "Little Squares of Tenderness"
were considered at that time as exceptions to export. Daniel
Peter's invention of the milk chocolate was about to modify
this viewpoint by opening a new perspective in the Swiss as
well as world Swiss chocolate industry.
Today the great multinational
Swiss Nestle, which has it's headquarters in Vevey, does not
hesitate to remind that the milk chocolate represents the
essential of the chocolate industry across the world.
Daniel Peter first saw light
in 1836, in Moudon, in the state of Vaud, not far from Vevey.
Like many other protestant families, the ancestors of Daniel
Peter had left France after the revocation of the Edict of
Nantes, so installed themselves in Switzerland by the end of
the 17th century. Son of a meat market owner, Daniel Peter
became apprenticed in business; nothing predestined that he
would be the one to bring a massive improvement to the
At the age of twenty, he
acquired, with his brother, Julian, a small candle factory.
Cailler had opened h is
chocolate factory at Vevey, a resort of the Swiss Riviera in
In 1863, Daniel Peter married
Fanny Cailler. The bride's father had died in 1853, leaving
behind him an enterprise that had among his clients a
certain Talleyrand. Still the future of the black tablets
began to experience certain limits, and as such, only a
small part of its production was destined to the foreign
companies. Little by little, the sale of chocolate left less
and less profits.
As one thinks of the history
of this milky invention, one must think while realizing that
the creation of the milk chocolate owes a lot to another
creation, which curiously is the kerosene lamp.
The adventure of the real
pioneer, Daniel Peter, is equally close to another event,
which is a mark in his life. His marriage with the daughter
of the frist Swiss chocolate manufacturer, Francois Louis
Thanks to his marriage, Daniel
Peter oriented his interest toward chocolate, especially
since his candle factory is about to be closed by the
expansion of the new kerosene lamps.
Daniel Peter does not let this
affect him as such. He, therefore, decided to go into the
chocolate industry, having observed that industry. The
industrial products intended for nutrition are among those
that offer the most certain prospects. They spoiled every
day and needed to be constantly renewed without becoming
subject to the complaints of the people. And when you see
the rapidity with which the babies devour a tablet of
chocolate, it is not surprising that Daniel Peter searched
for a way to impose himself on the chocolate market. He
submitted himself to the ferocious competition between
Cailler, Kohler, Suchard, and Lindt. He is conscious that he
will not realize his dream without creating something new.
In this period, we are in
1867. His friend, Henry Nestle, concocted his milky flour
for babies, a product the basis of which is flour and milk.
It is this inspiration that
Daniel Peter conceived the idea to incorporate the fine
Swiss milk with his chocolate.
Chocolate is not yet a
delicacy. It is more of a nourishing food, which profit
those who must expert physical effort.
To start his enterprise,
Daniel Peter had only one employee, his wife, who wrapped
the tablets. The couple continued for eight years before he
was able to present his new creation.
Daytime, Daniel Peter
manufactured simple chocolate to subsist. At night, he
search constantly for the formula which would allow him to
amalgamate cocoa powder and milk. Because to incorporate
milk and cocoa is not a simple affair, he must at all cost
avoid the souring of the milk, which may produce a repulsive
taste or noxious nasal odor in the tablet within two weeks.
Along in his research, he entered into a relationship with
the society Anglo-Swiss, a factory of condensed milk, owned
by an American. Mr. Page, who installed themselves in
Switzerland in order to insure Anglo-Swiss supply of the
1875, the lengthy research gave birth to "Gala Peter" from
the Greek "gala," which signifies "milk." Little by little
"Gala Peter" made its appearance on the shelves of food
Its copper-trimmed wrapper
presents "The first of the milk chocolate" as "the
healthiest of all chocolates, very nourishing, very
digestible, a little sugar not causing thirst." A little map
of Europe inserted near the name "Gala Peter" description
with the quote "As high as the Alps in Quality" already
gives an ideal of Daniel Peter's development of the European
Highly approved, the
manufacture of the milk chocolate was crowned with laurels
at the universal Exposition of Paris in 1878, where Daniel
Peter received the silver medal.
Quickly, this new product took
on extraordinary scope. It is toward England that the first
expansion was made. a druggist of a small English town who
had tasted this product while on a trip in Switzerland,
ordered for two years 110 pounds (50 kg) of the milk
chocolate, which led Daniel Peter to the very logical
conclusion that "If for a town of 8,000 people the
consumption is 110 pounds per year, the size million people
of London may, without exaggeration, consume 88,200 pounds
Daniel Peter goes to England,
but did not neglect the markets of Germany, Italy, and
Beside the small factory of
Daniel Peter, which is only a few steps from the railroad
station of Vevy, the Orient Express passes, which will serve
to reach France and the Orient. Soon the milk chocolate is
found around the world.
Being the sole owner of the
process, Daniel Peter created in 1896 La Societe de
Chocolats au Lait Peter. The same year, he confied in his
memoirs that all manufacturers of Swiss chocolate have tried
in vain to copy him, finding in it a proof of the value of
As time passes, the Peter
company merged with he giants "of the black square." In 1929
the society born of these associations will be called
Nestle-Petr-Cailler-Kohler, the ancestor of the present
Dying at the age of 84 in
1919, Daniel Peter was not able to enjoy his world success
of his invention. In 1986, the fabrication of "Gala Peter"
goes on still on the basic formula, so they explain at
Nestle in Vevey.