Willard Pan – <em>mixing chocolate dreams</em>

No. 67 Willard Pan – mixing chocolate dreams

The year was 1824, and English merchant, John Cadbury, had begun to advertise his drinking chocolate. As a Quaker, he felt that by providing tea, coffee, cocoa and drinking chocolate he was helping to alleviate some of the alcohol-related causes of poverty among the working class. He also incorporated these socially aware principles into his industrial relations philosophy at his chocolate factory at Bournville, Birmingham. more...

Fast forward to 1919, when following Cadbury’s merger with J.S. Fry, the new company sought to expand internationally. As Australia had developed into an important market (it provided Cadbury’s first overseas order in 1881) the decision was made to build a factory there. A further merger followed in 1922, when Cadbury and Fry joined Pascall to create a brand new Australian company – Cadbury-Fry and Pascall.

Given its proximity to Hobart and ample supplies of high-quality fresh milk, and inexpensive electricity, the new company chose Claremont, in Tasmania, as the site of their new factory. Modelled on the Bournville site in England, the Claremont factory also provided village and sporting facilities, and it became a major local employer.

The Cadbury-Fry-Pascall chocolate factory and the nearby Electrolytic Zinc Company’s zinc works heralded the beginning of hydro-industrialisation in Tasmania. The Tasmanian Government built numerous hydro-electric dams and power stations between 1916 and 1986 in an effort to change the island’s economy from a rural to an industrial base. This helped to transform Tasmania and its social structure though it also led indirectly to some of the environmental battles later in the century. During the Second World War (1939–1945), Cadbury became the official supplier of chocolate to the Australian Armed Forces. Wrapped in brown paper, its specially-made ration chocolate was developed to withstand melting in hot climates. In order to meet the high demand from troops and domestic customers Cadbury’s employees had to work day and night.

Like most factories, the Cadbury factory at Claremont has been upgraded regularly with new machinery. Willard pans were introduced in the 1960s and were used to beat and whip chocolate to make it lighter.
Confectioners have used chocolate pans to make centres for centre-filled chocolates for more than 1000 years. This steam-heated machine was a heating and cooling pan with a counter rotating mixing head.  It was probably transferred to Claremont after Cadbury bought the Melbourne confectioners, Red Tulip, in 1987. Like Red Tulip, Cadbury used the pan to prepare the mint centres for after-dinner mints until the machine was decommissioned in 2010.

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  • Object maker: unknown
  • Object date: c.1960
  • Object size: 181 x 162 x 146 cm
  • Object location: Claremont
  • Object display location: Off Display
  • Object source: Cadbury Pty Ltd
  • Accession number: S2010.7