Frank C. Mars

Frank C. Mars

Class of 2004

Frank was born in Pennsylvania in 1883. Stricken with polio at an early age, he spent his childhood learning candy recipes in his mother’s kitchen.

In 1902 Frank took over a wholesale candy firm in Minneapolis, selling to small shopkeepers in and around the Twin Cities. That same year he married Ethel Kissack and the couple had a son, Forrest.

Frank moved to Seattle in 1911 and decided to try his hand at candy manufacturing. The venture would meet with failure three times before Frank and his second wife, Ethel, returned to Minneapolis and found success selling buttercream candies to trolley passengers. The Mar-O-Bar Co. was born shortly thereafter.

In 1920 Frank and Forrest came up with the idea to produce a candy version of chocolate malted milk which could be enjoyed anywhere. The result was the Milky Way bar, which by 1924 boasted sales of more than $800,000.

In 1926, the company, now called Mars Inc., moved to a new plant outside Chicago where the Mars Almond bar, 3 Musketeers and Snickers were introduced.

Frank enjoyed a friendly relationship with fellow candy giant Milton Hershey and became one of Hershey’s biggest clients, purchasing as much as $7.5 million in chocolate coating per year.

Frank died in 1933 after collapsing on the floor of his Chicago factory.