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History of the Soda - Carbon Dioxide Dissolved in Water

Updated on March 30, 2017
Soda | Source

Soda is carbonated water with or without infusions of different flavors. Carbon dioxide is dissolved in water under high pressure to produce plain carbonated water. Different flavors, sugar, acids, and emulsions are added to produce flavored carbonated water and packaged in cans or bottles.

Soda was introduced in the eighteenth century as a medicine to cure illnesses. Medicines were mixed with carbonated water because of the firm belief that carbonated water had healing properties.

It all started when Joseph Priestley discovered how to infuse water with carbon dioxide. Presenting the history of the soda -

Birth of the Soda

Joseph Priestly invented carbonated water in 1767 when he discovered how to infuse water with carbon dioxide. He suspended a bowl of water over a container of fermenting beer that contained yeast as one of its ingredients to produce carbonated water.

The carbon dioxide released by the yeast dissolved in the water contained in the bowl producing carbonated water (Yeast is used in the process of making beer.)

In 1771 Torbern Bergman, a Swedish chemist and mineralogist invented another process similar to Joseph Priestly to make carbonated water. Until the first 20th-century, soda was manufactured mainly by the local pharmacists.

In 1774 John Mervin Nooth came up with an apparatus to saturate the water with carbon dioxide that was an improved version of Priestley’s design.

The first bottle of soda water was produced in the United States in 1835. The soda water was followed by the root beer in 1876, and the first cola-flavored beverage was introduced in 1971.

Based on the findings of Joseph Priestly, Johann Jacob Schweppes from Germany began to manufacture carbonated water.

Sparkling water is nothing but carbonated water. It is also known as club soda, seltzer water or fizzy water.

Introduction of Artificially Made Carbonated Mineral Water

In 1783 Johann Jacob Schweppe, a Swiss watchmaker came up with an artificial process to make carbonated mineral water that was commercially viable. Carbonated mineral water was popular among doctors and was used to cure indigestion and gout. He founded a company under the name Schweppes in Geneva the same year.

He started Schweppes not only in Geneva but also in England with a factory in Dury Lane, London. The lemonade fizzy drink was introduced by Schweppes in 1831. After the introduction of the lemonade fizzy drink, many other flavored fizzy drinks came up on the market.

Dr. Pepper's was introduced by Charles Alderton, a pharmacist in 1885. It was originally sold as an energy drink and a brain tonic. Dr. Pepper's was introduced to twenty million people at the 1904 World’s Fair Exposition in St. Louis.

Dr. Pepper’s was followed by other popular soda brands such as the Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola and the 7 Up.

Soda Jerk
Soda Jerk | Source

Soda Jerk

A Soda Jerk was the name given to the person who operated the soda fountain in a drugstore to prepare and serve the flavored soda water or ice cream soda to customers.

An ice cream soda was made by pouring a flavored syrup into a tall glass, followed by carbonated water and one or two scoops of ice cream that was served with a tall soda spoon and drinking straw.

The Soda Fountain

The soda fountain was a machine that dispensed soda in different flavors. The automated machine pumped carbon dioxide, a flavored syrup and chilled purified water to make the soda.

The soda fountain was introduced in Europe and soon became popular in the United States. Benjamin Silliman, a chemistry professor at Yale, bought a Nooth device and made mineral water and sold them in New Haven and Connecticut. The mineral water venture was a big success, and Benjamin Silliman built a bigger Nooth device and took on three partners.

The partnership resulted in the opening of soda fountains in New York City, Baltimore, and Maryland, More soda fountains were opened by businessmen across the United States.

In 1832, John Mathews of New York City and John Lippincott of Philadephia started to manufacture soda machines that were bigger and better.

Other pioneers of the soda fountain were Alvin Puffer, Andrew Morse, Gustavus Dows and James Tufts.

In 1891 Tufts, Puffer, Lippincott, and Mathews formed the America Soda Foutain Company. Soda fountains used ice to cool down the soda. Ice was cut from frozen lakes and ponds in winter and stored in the form of blocks in ice houses for use during summer.

Soda Vending Machine
Soda Vending Machine | Source

Liquid carbon dioxide is also known as dry ice.

Iceless-Soda Fountains

In 1888 Jacob Baur of Terre Haute, Indiana started the Liquid Carbonics Manufacturing Company in Chicago, the first manufacturer of liquefied carbon dioxide in the Midwest. In 1903 Liquid Carbonics started experimenting and testing with the first prototype of the iceless soda fountain that used liquefied carbon dioxide in a confectionery in Chicago.

In 1903 Liquid Carbonics started experimenting and testing the first prototype of the iceless soda fountain that used liquefied carbon dioxide to chill the water, in a confectionery in Chicago.

The iceless soda fountain used liquefied carbon dioxide to produce chilled carbonated water.

The business of making soda with iceless soda fountains was monopolized by L.A. Becker Company, the Liquid Carbonic Company, and the Bishop Babcock Company.

Louis A. Becker, a salesman, produced the first iceless soda fountain in 1904, in a manufacturing company that he owned.

The soda fountains were seen in pharmacies, ice cream parlors, candy stores, dime stores, department stores, milk bars and train stations. It was a place where neighbors socialized, and friends got together for an evening of fun.

The decline of the soda fountain began with the introduction of the full self-service drug stores by Walgreens. North American retail stores switched to self-service soda vending machines that saved costs on manual labor.

Today soda vending machines can dispense cans or bottles of soda in response to coins and currency bills or served in fast food chains and restaurants.

Soda - A Health Hazard

Drinking soda is not good for health. Drinking soda on a regular basis can cause obesity and diabetes. People who consume soda regularly have a higher risk of heart disease and cancer.

Sugary soda is bad for dental health. Soda contains acids such as phosphoric acid and carbonic acid that eats away the enamel and exposes the teeth to decay.



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    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 3 weeks ago from Great Yarmouth

      I didn't realise root beer had been around so long. I like that drink.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      See, I love information like this. It's great when I play a trivia game, but it's also very interesting. Great stuff here, Vellur!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 weeks ago from london

      The good and bad of sodas, eh? I have used lots in my time and specially coke. hardly any now.

      A soda jerk? What an interesting name! A very informative article with more pros than cons. Expertly done. I thought that Lippincott wrote medical books. Perhaps he did both, I suppose.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for this presentation on soda history. Wish they had stuck with soda water (and maybe, root beer). Now the soda lover wants to taste every flavor.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

      What a fun article Nithya, I really enjoyed this. I am swearing off colas (for they really are far from healthy as you pointed out) but I still have to have one with Pizza! All things in moderation I guess.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 weeks ago from Dubai

      Jackie Lynnley thank you and am glad you enjoyed reading.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 weeks ago from Dubai

      MsDora thank you for your visit and yes now soda is all about new flavors.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 weeks ago from Dubai

      manatita44 thank you. Lippincott wrote medical books too. In this article, I concentrated on the history of soda but still wanted to point out that soda was bad for health.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 weeks ago from Dubai

      billybuc thank you for your visit and comment.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 weeks ago from Dubai

      Coffeequeen thank you for your visit and yes root beer has been around for a long time.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      What an interesting history about carbonated water and the soda industry. What I found most interesting was the history and the fact of it first used as medicine to cure illnesses.

      I have not had a soda in decades. Now if we get any free sodas with "meal deals" at our local grocery store (buy this and get that free) I use it on ant hills that occasionally pop up in our yard. It kills the ants! Just think what it does to the inside of a person's stomach!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 weeks ago from london

      Yes, yes, good on you. You made it really interesting and although you ended with your message, it looked like it had some value at one point.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 weeks ago from California

      What a great hub! I am a water drinker--but I do love fizzy water!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 weeks ago from Dubai

      AudreyHowitt thank you and fizzy water without all the sugar and acids is okay.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 weeks ago from Dubai

      Peggy W Thank you; I did not know it worked on ant hills. Soda can wreak havoc on the human body but many people choose to ignore this fact, or maybe they do not know about it.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It's very interesting that soda water was once considered to be a medicinal drink! Thanks for sharing all the information, Vellur.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 weeks ago from Dubai

      Alicia C I would never have imagined that soda could have been a medicinal drink. Thank you for your visit and comment.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Nithya, that was fascinating! who knew? lol! I do love coca cola, not to hot on just bottled soda water.

    • Debangee Mandal profile image

      DEBANGEE MANDAL 2 weeks ago from India

      Very informative hub..Thanks for writing.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 weeks ago from Nashville Tn.

      Thanks for this informative, interesting hub on the "History of the Soda." Years ago I decided to go 'cold turkey' and stop drinking soda after learning about the harmful chemicals soda contains.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 weeks ago from USA

      This was both interesting and entertaining. I gave up sodas cold turkey almost two years ago but still miss them. I'd love to visit the Dr. Pepper museum in Waco, Texas. Dr. Pepper was my go to favorite.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 weeks ago from Dubai

      FlourishAnyway I do hope you get to visit the museum, thank you for your visit and comment.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 weeks ago from Dubai

      vocalcoach it is great that you gave up sodas, they are bad for your health. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 weeks ago from Dubai

      Debangee Mandal thank you.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 weeks ago from Dubai

      Nell Rose thank you for reading and commenting. Coca Cola once in a while is better, but best not to drink it.

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