Friday, December 1, 2017

Soda Fountain Slang

Soda Jerk, Black And White, Fountain  As you know from family stories, soda fountains were the neighborhood hangout where you could get a variety of drinks and food.  At one time, soda fountains were a part of the local drug store or perhaps it took up one wall of the local eatery.  It didn't matter because soda fountains had their own unique slang designed to convey orders, information, etc.

Unfortunately, its a language which has gone the way of soda fountains and soda jerks.  In time it may disappear completely because its no longer a part of our lives.  Fortunately, there are places you can find the lingo. 
 I'm sharing it because I find it amusing and  cool.
The one most people are familiar with is Soda Jerk or the guy who worked behind the counter.  The name came from the jerking action he used when filling or making soda.  Soda Jerks were usually male and soda fountains came with recipe books filled with recipes they had the memorize.  On the other hand, much of the slang used by soda jerks varied according to the decade.

In the 1930's you had Belch water aka Seltzer water.  If it had cat's eyes it included tapioca, kind of like Bubble Tea.  A C.O. Cocktail sounds so grown up but it was caster oil prepared in soda.  Of course a Fifty-five didn't refer to the speed limit, it was another name for root bear.

Then there is the Hoboken Special which was a mix of Pineapple soda with chocolate creme.  If you added a Maiden's delight, you've just put a cherry in it.  A Twist it, choke it, and make it cackle is chocolate malted milk with an egg. On the other hand, a Western was Coca-Cola with chocolate flavor and a Waco referred to a Dr. Pepper.

Speaking of Coke, Shoot one was a Coke but if you heard Shoot a wild one, someone ordered a cherry coke. Shoot on frowning meant a lime coke while a shoot one yellow was a lemon coke but if you got a shoot one blond, you'd get a Vanilla coke.

Do you want an iced tea?  Order a shanghai while draw one referred to a cup of coffee.  If you were not into caffeine, you might get a Squeezed one or a glass of lemonade.  The black on white simply meant chocolate soda with vanilla ice cream.  If it was ordered with Concrete as part of the description, it meant the milkshake was so thick, it could be turned upside down and not drip.

Then there is the spit in it or spit on it meaning raspberries in it or on it.  Sand (sugar) or Salties (peanuts) were added while patch described strawberries.  In the hay got you a strawberry milkshake and hold the hail meant no ice, or heavy on the hail got you extra ice.

As food went, you could order a Put out the lights and cry also known as liver and onions, or Noah's boy with Murphy carrying a wreath which got you ham and potatoes with cabbage.  The Gentlemen take a chance is hash.  If you were in a hurry you might order an American on a bicycle which told the cook you wanted a grilled cheese to go.

This is just a taste of some of the slang used by the soda jerk back in the thirties, forties, fifties.   I think the only place I've heard any of the terms is when I watched those old movies with my grandparents.

Let me know what you think.  Have a great day.


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