Candy bars are some of the most popular and well-known kinds of candy that people have experienced in their lifetime. Candy bars often make a big impression and even basic candy bars are still preferred by many people over some of the more unique candies that are on the market. The Oh Henry bar is a unique candy that has been around for a long time without changing its recipe very much.
The Oh Henry bar offers a snapshot of the old-style candy bars that your grandparents would have loved and it is still as popular today as it was when it was first invented. There have been some different versions of this candy bar that have been sold in other places, but the Oh Henry bar has been a consistent presence for years in the candy world.
History of the Oh Henry Bar
There have been multiple different stories told over the years about the origins of this candy bar. Nestlé, who makes the bar, says that the candy was crafted and then sold for the first time, by one George Williamson. This took place in 1920 in Chicago.
Another version of the candy bar’s introduction to the market is that Thomas Henry, the manager of the Peerless Candy Co in Kansas, created a candy bar that he called the “Tom Henry Bar”. This bar was sold in the later 1910s and then the recipe was sold to George Williamson to make Oh Henry bars.
The documentation for either story is impossible to track down but in either case. George Williamson brought the candy bar to market under the Oh Henry brand name in 1920.
This candy bar offers many historical mysteries because the reason for the name of the bar is also not well recorded. There is a popular legend that says that there was a boy named Henry who came to George Williamson’s candy store frequently. This young man became a favorite of the young women working at the store and his popularity with the staff led Williamson to name the candy bar after him. In this story, the ladies in the shop were always saying, “Oh, Henry,” to the boy and the name of the candy bar was due to this.
If you believe the story that Thomas Henry sold the recipe to Williamson in 1920, then the bar was simply renamed after the change of ownership. This is a much less glamorous version of the story, but the name of the bar has always been Oh Henry, no matter why this was the name that the candy company decided to use for the bar.
Oh Henry was managed by the Williamson Company until 1965. At this time, it was sold to Terson, Inc. Nestle then bought the rights for the brand in 1984. In 2018, Nestle sold the rights to the US confectionery products to Ferrara Candy Company. This is a subsidiary of Ferrero SpA.
At this time there are rumors that the candy bar has been discontinued for good. Lovers of this candy bar will need to stock up on it before it is sold out. For those who have been trying to save large boxes of candy to keep their favorite treat on hand, be aware that these candy bars are going to sell out quickly once the decision to stop making the candy has been released to the public.
Versions of the Oh Henry Bar
There is more than one version of the Oh Henry bar that is sold. The Canadian version is sold through Hershey and made in Ontario. This bar has fudge in the middle, then a thin layer of caramel, and then nuts that are surrounded by the final chocolate layer. These bars were made in Canada on a very limited basis and were called Rally Bars. They were sold in the 1970s and then discontinued.
The American version offers both fudge and caramel in the middle of the bar as well as a layer of nuts and fudge. This is all wrapped in a final layer of chocolate for a tasty bar that is a bit like a Snickers. The bar is harder to chew and a bit heavier than a Snickers, but follows some of the same general recipe planning that Snickers and other peanutty snack bars follow.
There has recently been a clusters version of the 20s candy bar that has been sold in the US and Canada as well. This is a bit like a grab-and-go bite-sized snack and the candy has been split into little bite-sized kernels of nutty and chocolatey goodness. This is not a common offering to be had at all stores, but you can order this item from Amazon.
The Canadian bars that are still sometimes sold are square and are not shaped anything like the US version. The candy bar is not as popular overall in Canada, so the square, snappable and snackable candy style is more popular there. This is a smaller candy overall and they are often sold in 2 or four packs when ordering online.
Williamson didn’t have the funds to really market this candy bar aggressively like he wanted to. He decided that the best bang for his buck would be to print out bumper stickers that just said, “Oh Henry” on them and let curiosity do the rest. This appears to have worked, as the bar was a popular success without much effort on the part of Williamson.
The candy bar also was placed in the right market at the right time, as these kinds of candy bars were in high demand during the first decade of the bar’s sales. While these kinds of candy bars are much less popular now, the candy market in the 1920s was desperate for yummy treats that would offer a hearty eating experience.
There was a movement during the 1920s and 1930s to equate candy bars with a meal replacement item. The US had not forgotten the Great Depression and the focus on healthier foods that would make you feel full when you only had a few nickels in your pocket was common. This straight line between candy and healthy eating was later proven to be incorrect, but at the time that Oh Henry hit the market, there were other bars like the Denver Sandwich Bar that were claiming that candy bars could be a meal.
What Are the Ingredients of the Oh Henry Bar?
From the Amazon entry:
- Corn syrup
- Modified palm oil
- Modified vegetable oil
- Shea, sunflower, or safflower oil
- Modified milk ingredients
- Unsweetened chocolate
- High fructose corn syrup
- Modified palm kernel oil
- Soy lecithin
- Mono and diglycerides
- Artificial flavor
- Disodium phosphate
Is Oh Henry Discontinued?
There are currently some rumors that the candy has been discontinued. Not all merchants are indicating this and the information might not be correct, but there are some companies that have already declared that it has been discontinued and have barred sales for the candy on their site. For those who love this kind of candy bar, this is a large blow since there are so few of this kind of candy still out there.
There is always a chance that the company might change its mind if enough people protest. There have been movements that have stopped the process of discontinuing other products as well. It might take a lot of effort to stop the company from discontinuing this candy bar, but the passionate people who love it might have to step in and take action.
What Does Oh Henry Taste Like?
This candy bar will remind you a lot of a Snickers, but chewier. The Oh Henry bar has milk chocolate on the outside and there are nuts and caramel in the interior of the bar. The taste is very heavy on the milk chocolate, which is not like the Snickers bar. Oh Henry bars are chewier and more caramelly than many other bars on the market these days.
If the bar truly has been discontinued, it is likely because of how hard it is to eat this kind of candy bar. Kids and adults alike are far less patient about having to struggle to eat a candy bar and this bar does require some more chewing if you are going to enjoy it. You will still get a really unique and classic candy bae experience when you eat this candy bar, complete with the hard-to-chew factors and properties.
Perhaps the candy bar has been discontinued so that there can be a rerelease with an improved recipe. This might make all the difference to the brand since the models that offer candy up as meal replacements have dried up almost entirely in the past ten years. This market space has been replaced by cereal bars and other sugary treats that are also not the best for you.
Pictures of Oh Henry!
Commercials for Oh Henry
A Halloween ad:
Another classic ad:
A 1997 ad: