Remembering Brock Candy

Thursday, March 29, 2018 - by Terry Reynolds

In the article about Brock Candy Company, mention is made about the move from Chestnut Street to Jersey Pike.  Although they may have constructed the Jersey Pike facility in 1961, it was used primarily as a warehouse until sometime around 1980.

When I worked at the plant, Horton Corwin was in charge of quality control and Frank Brock was one of the plant managers: Many of the employees had decades with Brock Candy Company and some were second (or more) generation.

 I  worked second shift and mostly reported to Charles Gass, making hard candy (butterscotch, sour balls, peppermint starlight, peanut butter inside a hard shell, cinnamon, etc.)

The ambient air temperature in the room was extremely hot so that the near-liquid sugar and corn syrup mixture did not cool too fast. As a result the candy-makers were always covered in sweat: The sweat would flow down your skin inside your shirt and pants and pool in your shoes, which often squished when you walked.

Everything had to be kept covered in corn starch to keep the near-liquid product from sticking to the equipment. The clouds of corn starch swirling around in the room left a white crust around your eyes nose and mouth as well as any skin that was covered in sweat and exposed.

All of the candy-makers wore very large, heavy, thick gloves, but despite this most of us had fingertips which were frequently covered in large blisters: Once I had a blister that covered the   entire pad of my thumb and that blister had a blister in the center of it that protruded even further.

If you ate candy to see if everything tasted right, over time you tended to lose your appetite for sweets. Many employees who were overweight when they started working lost weight over time   (but part of that may have been from working in the sauna for eight hours a day)

Later I worked on a very automated system which produced candy corn and circus (marshmallow) peanuts as well as those famous chocolate-covered cherries.

If the equipment was humming everyone worked steadily and then, after the end of a long, hot, hard shift, dumping your powdery clothes into a plastic bag and enjoying a nice hot shower, washing off all of the accumulated dirt, it was so great to walk out into the night air feeling fresh as a daisy.

It was a challenging job, but I still have fond memories of my time at Brock Candy Company, the products we made and the people with whom we worked.

The new wing from the 1950's must have been built to withstand a nuclear explosion, because it took forever to bring it down during the demolition. I went by the site and picked up a beige-painted    brick which I still have.

All of that site and other property were acquired by the Carter Street Corporation and demolished to facilitate construction of the Trade Center, Hotel and Parking Garage, all projects in which I was also able to participate as a design team member, less than a decade after working at Brock Candy Company as a candy-maker.

terryd_reynolds@bellsouth.net



Chester Martin: When The Hercules Came To Tennessee

PLEASE BE ADVISED that I was putting the finishing touches on this story when the recent fatal C-130 accident occurred at Savannah, Ga. That tragic event, however, does not in any way diminish my high opinion of the Hercules, as its reputation has long been established - and is likely to be sustained long into the future. My story, therefore, appears here "as written". Yes, I ... (click for more)

Browns Were Pioneers Of Waldens Ridge, Red Bank Sections

John Brown Sr. was "one of the original 765 white settlers of Hamilton County,'' acquiring large tracts on Walden's Ridge and building his homeplace near Soddy. Another pioneer was James Berry Brown, who occupied a beautiful hilly section north of the present Red Bank. Two of Berry Brown's descendants - G. Russell Brown and J.B. Brown - were educational standouts. George Willis ... (click for more)

City Stormwater Board Approves Water Quality And Development Fee Increases

The city Stormwater Regulations Board on Monday recommended that the city approve water quality and land development increases sought by the Berke administration, though board members said there had not been enough time for the board and the public to study the fee hikes. Bill Payne, city engineer, said the water quality fee increase would amount to an average $11 per year per ... (click for more)

Blakemore Gets 23-Year Prison Term For Selling Heroin That Caused Death Of Red Bank Man

Federal Judge Sandy Mattice on Monday sentenced Darius Jermaine Blakemore to 23 years in federal prison for selling heroin to a Red Bank man who overdosed and died.   Blakemore, 29, had gone to trial on the case, but it was announced in the middle of the trial that both sides had agreed to the 23-year term. Blakemore had faced 30 years to life.   Blakemore ... (click for more)

Liberal Conspiracy Afoot

According to Roy Exum’s Sunday column, there are now upwards of six or seven Democrats in Hamilton County, and all of them have secretly maneuvered their way onto the boards of a couple of dozen local organizations. Unlike Republicans, some of them serve on multiple boards and some of them serve with one another on the same boards. This is outrageous. We all know that boards and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Words For The Ages

I was probably one of few people in the entire world who didn’t get caught up in the Royal Marriage of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry this weekend. I got over having any semblance of ‘pomp and circumstance’ a long time ago and, as a rule, studiously avoid those apt to ‘put on airs and graces.’ By ignoring the magnificent occasion, I made a big mistake and today it is with delight ... (click for more)