Joseph Fry

Joseph Fry

Class of 2007

Joseph was born in Birmingham, England in 1728. He was an apprentice to Dr. Henry Portsmouth, who trained Joseph extensively in the medical properties of herbs, plants and compound drugs.

Qualifying as a physician, he set up his own apothecary store in Bristol in 1748, where strongly believing in the health qualities of cocoa powder, Joseph taught himself several recipes for cocoa and drinking chocolate. One use for cocoa at that time was to mask unpleasant tastes in medicinal preparations.

In 1761, Joseph bought Charles Churchman’s chocolate company in Bristol, which had a patent from King George II for the fine and clean making of chocolate.

Joseph then used his business talent and love of chocolate to expand the business, renamed J.S. Fry & Sons Ltd., which in those days centered on making tablets of chocolate to flavor milk or hot water.

He is reported to have been a great innovator, adapting processes and techniques to further his business, and he laid the foundations of what would later evolve into one of the world’s largest candy companies, Cadbury Trebor Basset, before passing away in 1787.

In 1795, for example, his son, Joseph Storr Fry invented a way to grind cocoa beans using a Watt steam engine, introducing factory techniques to the cocoa industry, and by 1822 the company was the largest commercial chocolate manufacturer in Britain.

In 1847 the company made the first chocolate bar for widespread consumption and in 1853, Fry’s invented chocolate-covered cream sticks – the first chocolate confectionery to be made on a factory scale.

In 1919, the company became part of the Cadbury organization.