Interesting Historical Facts
The Curtiss Candy Company was founded in 1916 by Otto Schnering near Chicago, Illinois. Wanting a more "American sounding" name (as German surnames were not an asset during World War I), Schnering named his company using his mother's maiden name.
Their first confectionery item was Kandy Kake, later refashioned in 1921 as the log-shaped Baby Ruth. Their second confectionery item was the chocolate-covered peanut butter crunch Butterfinger. In 1931 Curtiss marketed the brand by sponsoring famous air racer, John H. Livingston, in the Baby Ruth Aerobatic Team flying the air-racer Howard "Mike" at airshows, and sponsoring Livingston's Monocoupe racer in the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race.
In 1964, Standard Brands purchased Curtiss Candy Company. Standard Brands merged with Nabisco in 1981. In 1990, RJR Nabisco sold the Curtiss brands to Nestlé.
The Baby Ruth / Butterfinger factory, built in the 1960s, is located at 3401 Mt. Prospect Rd. in Franklin Park, Illinois. Interstate 294 curves eastward around the plant, where there is a prominent, rotating sign, resembling a gigantic candy bar. It originally read "Curtiss Baby Ruth" on one side and "Curtis Butterfinger" on the other. It was changed to read "Nestlé" following the acquisition.
There was a "Curtiss Baby Ruth" sign on an apartment building across from Wrigley Field for several decades. Wrigley and the Curtiss plant are both on Addison Street, although more than 10 miles apart.