Okay, I’ll admit right off the bat that I’m a pop junkie. My dad bought pop for us all the time as kids. We even have a refrigerator in our garage reserved just for pop—and to have a place to thaw the Thanksgiving turkey.
As a kid, I watched all the cowboy shows and westerns of the sixties and early seventies. It always intrigued me when a cowboy would order a sarsaparilla. What a fancy name! I thought it might be fun to research soda pop and to find out how long it has actually been around.
1798—the term “soda water” was first used
1819—the first soda fountain was patented
1835—first bottled soda water was available in the
Note: The drinking of mineral water was considered a healthy practice. American pharmacists, who were selling most of the mineral waters, started to add medicinal and other flavorful herbs to the unflavored beverage, such as birch bark, dandelion, sarsaparilla and fruit extracts.
1851—ginger ale was created in
1861—the term “pop” was first used
Just imagine, all of that happened before the Civil War had ended. It makes me thirsty just thinking about it.
1876—mass production of Root Beer began. It started out as an herbal tea that Charles Hires, a
1881—the first cola beverage was introduced
1885—Dr. Pepper was invented, also by a pharmacist
1886—Coca Cola was invented by Doctor John Pemberton—you guessed it—a pharmacist from
1892—William Painter invented the crown bottle cap
1898 "Pepsi-Cola" is invented by Caleb Bradham. His most popular beverage was something he called "Brad's drink" made of carbonated water, sugar, vanilla, rare oils, pepsin and cola nuts. "Brad's drink" was later renamed "Pepsi-Cola" after the pepsin and cola nuts used in the recipe.
Did you know that soda pop has been around for so long? There are plenty more events in the soda pop timeline, but I’ll stop here. Next time you’re reading a historical set in the late 1800s and your hero refreshes himself with a soft drink, just remember it could have really happened. And, next time you indulge in a cold, refreshing soft drink, be sure to thank all those early pharmacists for their creative genius.