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.

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