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According to legend, Oh Henry! was originally named after a boy who frequented the Williamson company, flirting with the girls who made the candy. The name is also said to be a homage to American writer O. Henry. However, there is no definitive explanation as to the exact origin of the name.
Another theory is that the candy bar was invented by a man named Tom Henry of Arkansas City, Kansas. Tom Henry ran a candy company called the Peerless candy factory, and in 1919 he started making the Tom Henry candy bar. He sold the candy bar to Williamson Candy Company in 1920, where they later changed the name to "Oh Henry!". Henry's family now runs a candy factory in Dexter, Kansas, that sells "momma henry" bars, which are nearly identical to the original candy bar.
In 1923, an employee of Williamson, John Glossinger, announced that he was going to make the Oh Henry! bar a national best seller. Company officials said it was impossible and denied him the funds for an advertising campaign. Glossinger went into the streets and pasted onto automobile bumpers stickers saying merely "Oh Henry!". People became curious as to what an Oh Henry! was, and sales for the bar rose quickly.
Nestlé acquired the United States rights to the brand in 1984 and continues to produce the bar. In Canada, the bar is currently sold by The Hershey Company and was manufactured at their Smiths Falls, Ontario, facilities prior to its closure. Because of Canada's different chocolate standards, the Canadian "Oh Henry!" is not considered a "chocolate bar" and is labeled instead as a "candy bar". In fact, unlike the American version, which labels the bar as "milk chocolate", the Canadian version contains no milk chocolate at all: it contains a chocolatey coating. The bars are also different in appearance: it is one bar with the fudge in the center, the fudge is surrounded with a thin layer of caramel, and the nuts surround that layer before it is surrounded in the chocolatey coating. Hershey sells Oh Henry! bars made in Canada on a very limited basis in the United States as Rally bars, using the trademark of a Hershey product introduced in the 1970s and later discontinued.
During Henry Aaron's quest to break Babe Ruth's record for career home runs in Major League Baseball, the bar was briefly advertised as being linked to him, even though it was first marketed years before he was even born.
Members of the band Dog Is Dead originally performed together under the name "Oh Henry!" when at school.
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