Grinding cocoa beans to make chocolate was a highly laborious business, carried out on a small scale by individual shops – or even by householders themselves. Through the early 18th century apothecaries, grocers and traders would process and sell chocolate sourced from importers, until the first specialist brand name began to appear in advertising: Churchman's.
In 1729 Walter Churchman had been granted a patent by King George II for a machine to make finer chocolate powder. He described it as "a large walking wheel of weight and draught for cattle". By applying mechanical power for grinding he was able to make a finer product on a larger scale, and so became the country's first true chocolate manufacturer.
He made four different types, including Common Standard and Superfine Chocolate with Vanellos (vanilla), in the form of tablets of chocolate which would partially dissolve in water or milk faster and more completely than the coarser hand-made rival products.
Churchman's expanded from its Bristol home base to London, and settled on the most popular product under the name Churchman's Patent Chocolate.
Unrivalled in his lifetime, cocoa's first English entrepreneur Walter Churchman died in 1741 and was succeeded in the business by his son Charles. The business was still the only specialist cocoa manufacturer in the country – but this was not to last much longer.