History Of Carbonated Beverages

Ancient Greeks and Romans knew the virtues of bathing in naturally occurring carbonated mineral waters. By the sixteenth century, extensive efforts were made by physicians and scientists to characterize and reproduce these physical benefits. The Swiss alchemist Phillipus Aureolus Paracelsus, recorded the earliest written observations. A century later, the Belgian physician Jean Baptiste Van Helmont (1577-1644) applied the name "gas" to mineral spring vapors. In 1757, Joseph Black, a Scottish physician, established that "fixed air" (C02 gas) could be extracted from limestone with oil of vitriol (sulfuric acid). In the 1780s Thomas and William Henry discovered that increasing pressure increased solubility of gases (Henry's law). By 1823, Sir Humphry Davy and Michael Faraday were liquifying C02 gas in England.

Simultaneously in America, scientists were studying mineral springs near Saratoga, New York, and developing ways to duplicate their properties. In 1798 the term "soda water" was first introduced. In 1807, Dr. Benjamin Silli-man began selling carbonated mineral waters in New Haven, Connecticut. The first U.S. patent for the manufacture of imitation mineral waters was issued to Joseph Hawkins of Philadelphia. Developments followed rapidly on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Bottled soda water was first sold in the United States in 1835. Flavors were added soon after that in Germany and the United States, the earliest being fruit juices. Artificial flavors appeared in the 1850s along with ginger ale, root beer, and vanilla flavors sold through pharmacies. These early "tonics" were compounded and dispensed by chemists in apothecaries for consumption on the premises. The health benefits of mineral waters were expanded with the addition of herbs and sodium bicarbonate to soothe the stomach. By the late 1800s, the availability of liquid C02 in steel cylinders allowed the transition from soda fountains to bottling shops, and the industry took off. Some of the earliest products that grew into businesses include:

• Cantrell & Cochrane (C&C) ginger ale was exported from Belfast, Ireland, in the 1850s.

• Vernors ginger ale was developed in Detroit, Michigan, by James Vernor when he returned from the Civil War in the late 1860s.

• Hires root beer was introduced at the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876 by Charles Hires.

• In 1881, Henry Millis started selling Clicquot Club ginger ale in Boston.

• In 1884, Dr. Augustin Thompson developed Moxie in Lowell, Massachusetts.

• Dr Pepper formula developed by young Charles Al-derton, was sold to Robert S. Lazenby, proprieter of the Circle "A" Ginger Ale Company in Waco, Texas, in 1885.

• In 1886, Dr. John Pemberton, an Atlanta druggist, produced the first 25 gallons of what became CocaCola, in a three-legged pot in his backyard. By 1904, 123 franchised bottlers sold one million gallons of Coke.

• Caleb Bradham of New Bern, North Carolina, named his new beverage Pepsi-Cola in 1898. By 1910 he had sold franchises to 280 bottlers.

• In 1890, John McLaughlin opened a small plant near Toronto to sell carbonated water to local drug stores. He introduced Canada Dry pale dry ginger ale in 1904.

• The Royal Crown name was trademarked by Hatcher Grocery Company in Columbus, Georgia, in 1905.

By the turn of the twentieth century the soft drink industry was well on its way to success. In 1900, 2,800 bottling plants produced over 1 billion 6 oz. bottles. Coca-Cola's first newspaper advertisement appeared in 1902. By 1921 there were over 6,000 bottlers helped in part by Prohibition, which closed many beer breweries. The number of bottlers peaked in 1929 at 7,920 and then tapered down during the Great Depression. After World II, the number of plants increased to 6,900 in 1949, but has been decreasing ever since, to less than 500 at the end of the twentieth century. But throughout the century, except for a few periods of war rationing restriction, the volume of soft drinks has increased as the plants became more efficient, more sanitary, and extended their reach through better packaging, transportation, and marketing.

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