Clipped From The Cincinnati Enquirer

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FAVORITE SUMMER DRINK OF AMERICANS WAS KNOWN AS FAR BACK AS 1520. New York IHO put the Am In soda water? W Few of those lined up before fVi mrhU rAiinln fttnn to Pdfo) meditate on the origin and history of the summer drinks. It Is taken for granted that chocolate Ire cream soda, at alt events, must have existed since a out the Lower 8ilurian. To be sure, there may be some who will be able to tell you (hat soda water in variety was a great feature of the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, and theie ma; even be an old New Yorker who can hark back to the late thirties and tell you tales of Old Ben. who dispensed fancy soda drinks at 55 Gold treet. Few. however, realize that, far from beinK modern In Its origin, soda water is in point of actual fact a product of the early part of the sixteenth century-Not that Ice cream soda and the sundae were star featuresof, say. the Renaissance, but the principle of soda water was in use in Germany as early as It was the picturesque Paracelsus, a Gei-man chemist and physician, who aeems to hac been the first to have a speaking acquaintance with carbonic acid, which Is the essential constituent of soda water. Just how much Paracelsus developed the possibilities of soda water as a beverage Is a rather hazy point; unfortunately a Jealous band of druggists and chemists, so i umor runs, threw him down a hill and nipped the career of' the great German scientist In the bud. The ci.bonic acid idea took root, nevertheless One hundred ytars later Van Helmont. a Belgian chemist, made further experiments and coined the word gas." the term that is now used to designate the carbon dioxide which puts the fizz in soda water. More than a hundred years later a French physician. Gabriel Vcnel. tried his hand at making drinkable mixtures of soda, muriatic acid and or-dlnary water. The idea crept into Eng land, and a few years before the Ameri-. can Revolution Dr. Joseph Priestley, ot Leeds, made the first publicly acknowledged glass of drinkable soda water. According to fhe Pharmaceutical Era. which gives in a recent -issue the history of the development of the soda water Industry. Dr. Priestley prepared his bever-aee by pouring between two goblets held In a layer of carbon dioxide on the top of a fermenting mash In a brewery vat. By this time Germany. Belgium. France and England had all played around the Idea of aoda water, yet by 1800 it was comparatively unknown. It remained for America to put behind the Idea the mo-' mentum of her Ingenuity and her enterprise .and make boda water "the great American drink." America saw the possibilities . of soda water. America has Invented and perfected the soda water fountain. America has been largely responsible for most of the appliances which have followed in the growth of the . industry, the American public drank aoda water with its characteristic energy. and thus It has been possible for America to introduce the famous drink in all its bewildering variety to England and the . continent, whence the Idea came. The manufacture or mineral waters upon correct ' chemical principles" . was undertaken in America as early as 1804 war merely "charged water," but It was 'a great novelty in the days when lack of traveling facilities made the mineral springs remote for many. . In 180J the -first establishment- was started In - yjaw . York City. Thatcher's "American NewIMspen' describes the operation of these early plant a Xhe cisterns -were placed in the cellar Time 1 and the waters were convoyed lnt the bar in block-tin tubt-s, which pass up into mahogany pillars crowned with gilt urns and lettered with the names of th respective waters. The pillars with the.r urns stand a foot apart, and tht- mi'MU-one Is raised above the other.". Silver stop cocks inserted Into the stile of the pillars give the hole much nestnes nJ richness of appearance." Evidently soda water in its stage was considered a bit de trop as a ladie-" drink, for we read that this progressive establishment "Intends to open fountains at the City Hail in the month of May. In a spacious room, fitted up and ornamented in handsome style and adapted to the accommodation of ladies as well as gentlemen." This, however, was plain mineral water. The honor of introducing fruit syrups and thus opening up the way for the present variety of summer beverages be-iongs to Philadelphia. To the discredit of our own great metropolis Is It recorded that it took the lde of syruped soda water six years to travel from the Quak- er City to New York. r Eugene Roussel. a Frenchman by birth. kept a perfumery shop in Philadelphia. He had one of the early soda water dispensers in his establishment, and the Idea came to him that an energetic lemonade made on a basis of charged water might be pleasant and a popular thing, especlal-'y If It were bottled up so that It could be carried home. The experiment wap tried, and with a very little Judicious advertising syruped soda became the rage in Philadelphia. From all accounts the Philadelphia beverage was pure food soda water: there are records which show that the best loaf sugar and the most carefully prepared fruit juices were used, white of egg being added to clarify the syrup. Gotham's first popular soda water fountain dates from the early thirties, when "Old Ben" was Its star feature. Old Ben was a slave from North Carolina, who had obtained his freedom at his master's death and had come North to enter the employ of John Matthews, who at that time was experimenting successfully with the soda water Idea. The establishment was at 55 Gold street, and was tremendously popular. John Matthews was at that time busy in perfecting soda water apparatus, and his pressure gauge and safety cap for generators, still in use, were suggested by Old Ben's thumb. At that stage soda water was made with a wooden generator, a gasometer and a pump. The gas passed from the generator Into the gasometer and into the fountain. Three volumes of the gasometer was the charge for the fountain. Old Ben's thumb applied to the cock was the signal. If this thumb was forced away by the pres- sure the fountain was charged, and from thls John Matthews developed his gauge and safety cap. The sensation in the Boda water busl- ness. which by this time was rap'ldly growing, was furnished by a Massachusetts man. G. D. Dows. In the early fifties. Mr. Dows is known as "the father of the modern soda fountain," and was the first to use marble in its construction, with silver American eagles, such as you will see on the stop cocks of the soda fountains in the country store to-day. Mr. Dows made - a reDUtation - i-i x-ia j ox-.. . . . ... iM Liuiea oiaies wun ms "uowsi fountains." which sold for $225 each, and in 1867 he went to France, where he dls- Universale in Pari This was the for- - ma Introduction of American soda water on the continent, and It made a tremen- dous sensation. The report of the Amer- . . lean Commission of the United States 1

Clipped from
  1. The Cincinnati Enquirer,
  2. 20 Sep 1913, Sat,
  3. Page 14

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  • Clipped by sdanna – 22 May 2013

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