When you think about Christmas, what comes to mind? Visions of Sugarplums? Christmas Cookies? Christmas Candy? All of the above? Yes!! Especially that special Santa figure made of chocolate and wrapped in that pretty red and green foil. For generations children of all ages have dreamed of finding such a Santa in their Christmas stocking.
Since the early 1800’s chocolate candy molds have been made in France. In 1832 the LeTang Family was selling molds to chocolate makers. In 1866 Hermann Walter molds were being produced in Berlin, Germany. In 1870 the famous mold manufacturer Anton Reiche opened his business in Dresden, Germany. The German manufacturers excelled at making fabulous chocolate molds with magnificent detail and in endless sizes and subjects. In 1880 an American company called Eppelsheimer of New York City began producing chocolate molds, and they continued to make them until 1947. Another American firm by the name of Jaburg opened in 1885 also in New York City and operated through 1951. More recent American companies are the American Mold Company founded in 1947 and the Allmetal Mold Company formed in 1946 which is still in operation.
1880 to 1930 were the glory days for the chocolate mold industry. Not just Santa molds were made, maybe even more popular were bunny rabbit molds. In fact, all kind of molds were made including people, fruit, Halloween, Easter, Thanksgiving, animals, swords, guns, turtles, fish, devils, and fairy tale characters. The variety was endless just like the mold sizes, which ranged from one inch to five feet!
Today a handful of manufacturers still produce molds. Within the last two years imports from China have appeared and online auctions are flooded with these reproductions.
Antique chocolate molds are fascinating works of art and they are beautiful pieces of nostalgia, full of history and folklore. They have that special vintage appeal that draws us back to childhood and sweet memories.