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Soda fountain

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**History of Soda Fountains:**
– Originated as an attempt to replicate mineral waters with therapeutic properties.
– Bottling water began in the UK in 1621 at the Holy Well, and commercial distribution in America started in 1767.
– Early scientists experimented with creating effervescent waters, leading to the invention of soda water in the late 1700s.

**Evolution of Soda Fountains:**
– Soda fountains began in Europe but gained popularity in the U.S.
Benjamin Silliman introduced soda water to America in 1806.
– John Matthews and John Lippincott started manufacturing soda fountains in 1832.
– The American Soda Fountain Company monopolized the industry in 1891.
– Iceless fountains using brine were introduced in the early 20th century.

**Manufacturers and Industry Impact:**
– Pioneering manufacturers included Alvin Puffer, Andrew Morse, Gustavus Dows, and James Tufts.
– The American Soda Fountain Company controlled prices and forced out smaller manufacturers.
Ice harvesters supplied ice before mechanical refrigeration.
– The Liquid Carbonic Company and Bishop & Babcock dominated the iceless fountain business.
– The Bastian-Blessing Company was a leading soda fountain manufacturer.

**Decline of Soda Fountains:**
– Rise of suburbia and self-service drug stores in the 1950s led to decline.
– Competition from drive-in restaurants, roadside ice cream outlets, and self-service vending machines.
– Walgreens’ introduction of full self-service drug stores contributed to the decline.
– Soda fountains were popular social spaces in the early 20th century.

**Cultural Impact and References:**
– Soda fountains served as social spaces for community news and socializing.
– Expanded menus to include light meals, ice cream sodas, and sundaes.
– Popular in pharmacies, ice cream parlors, and dime stores in the 1940s and 1950s.
– Influence on literature and popular culture, like Neil Munro’s satire in The Soda-Fountain Future.
– References to further reading and external links related to soda fountains.

Soda fountain (Wikipedia)

A soda fountain is a device that dispenses carbonated soft drinks, called fountain drinks. They can be found in restaurants, concession stands and other locations such as convenience stores. The artifact combines flavored syrup or syrup concentrate and carbon dioxide with chilled and purified water to make soft drinks, either manually, or in a vending machine which is essentially an automated soda fountain that is operated using a soda gun. Today, the syrup often is pumped from a special container called a bag-in-box (BiB).

A Coca-Cola soda fountain in Hainan, China, April 2010

Fountain coke is an often confused term normally referring to a handheld dispenser behind a bar or counter that are used in many countries, including Spain, France and the United Kingdom. The term ‘fountain’ helps differentiate from, ‘machine’ cola as the fountain is more easily controlled and offers more flavours.

A soda fountain is also referred to as a postmix machine in some markets. Any brand of soft drink that is available as postmix syrup may be dispensed by a fountain.

The term may also refer to a small eating establishment, soda shop or luncheonette, common from the late 19th century until the mid-20th century, often inside a drugstore, candy store or other business, where a soda jerk served carbonated beverages, ice cream, and sometimes light meals. The soda jerk's fountain generally dispensed only unflavored carbonated water, to which various syrups were added by hand only.

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