I am signed up with a service called BookBub. It sends out daily lists of books in the genres you are interested in that are on sale for free, 99 cents, $1.99 or $2.99. Since I checked cookbooks, there was one this morning on drinks, etc from a Soda Fountain.
I don't remember every having a soda fountain in the neighborhood growing up but I do remember seeing them in the movies. According to the book, soda fountains were a social center for people. The book is based on a soda fountain that opened a few years ago in New York and is doing well.
So what do you know about soda fountains? I don't know much but I learned so much about them. I learned some things I never knew before looking them up.
1. Originally soda fountains in the 1850's were used to dispense tonics to help people's health. Many of these early concoctions contained cocaine and caffeine which caused soda fountains to earn a bad reputation for having drinks that were addicting.
2. The predecessor of the soda fountain was the ice cream parlor which came into popularity in the 1880's. These establishments sold ice cream and phosphate sodas. Phosphate sodas were made of fruit flavorings with acid phosphate. The original one was a mixture of calcium, magnesium, and potassium phosphate salts with a bit of phosphoric acid. They tasted sour or tangy.
3. In 1888, a pharmacist began bottling liquid carbon dioxide and he sold it so anyone could purchase a set up a soda fountain. He marketed it as the Liquid Carbonic Company. Around the turn of the century, soda fountains began gaining in popularity. The slogan of the Liquid Carbonic Company stated it the product was not addicting, it was just plain good. This refers back to the earlier reputation of soda fountains.
4. Prior to the bottled liquid carbon dioxide, many soda fountains produced their own carbon dioxide by mixing sulfur acid and calcium carbonate to produce the carbon dioxide needed for carbonated drinks. Unfortunately, this was an extremely dangerous job because if mixed at the wrong rate, explosions resulted.
5. Soda fountains flourished between the 1900's and the 1950's when pharmacists operated their own drug stores and soda fountains. It was a one stop deal.
6. The prohibition is credited with increasing the demand for soda fountains because it was a much easier drink to drink soda than obtain alcohol and it was safer.
7. Important inventions leading up to the creation of soda fountains.
a. 1810. the first U.S. patent was filed to manufacture imitation mineral waters on a mass scale.
b. 1819, the first patent for the soda fountain was granted. Around the same time the first siphon was created so only a part of the carbonation was used.
c. 1863, the first marble soda fountain was patented by its inventor. This was a machine that mixed the calcium carbonate with the sulfuric acid.
d. Other people improved on the machine itself over the following years.
8. The soda fountain fell out of favor when fast food became popular.