The History of Soda Machine
Soda Machine was a popular attribute in almost any drugstore in the United States during at least seven decades. The rise of the Soda Machine occurred around 1900 when drugstores operated their own Fountains in order to sell concoctions to "cure common ailments". Shortly after the years of prohibition, Soda Machines became increasingly popular with the general public, mostly due to the fact that bars were closed, and the Soda Machine was the new location for the much needed social gatherings, where people could interact with each other, while having a quick pop drink.
The popularity of the drugstore Soda Fountain lasted until the fifties, and went on a decline until it collapsed during the seventies, and became a thing of the past. Today it experienced a revival in a form of a home soda maker.
The first Soda Fountain was created in the early 1900s by Jacob Baur and was used to sell drugs at the drugstores, for which it provided an easy way to ingest the concoctions that were sold during that time period. Selling drugs over the counter was legal at the various drug stores in that time period, so there were no legal repercussions of any kind to worry about. Many of the sweetened concoctions contained cocaine, caffeine and morphine, which were used to cure headaches. While the initial headache was cured, the backlash of the drug caused new ones that ensured the customer had to come back. In that regard the success and popularity of the Soda Fountain was no surprise, and later when the prohibition became fact, it was another good reason to add to the popularity of the Soda Machine.
During that period, the Soda Fountain was the spot to get a needed “Pick me up”, while socializing with the other locals, while doctors, store owners and the general public were convinced the drinks were healthy and good for you.
In 1914 this changed when laws regarding selling over the counter drugs were introduced. The purpose of the Soda Fountain changed from selling concoctions to cure ailments to a soft drink machine. From that time until the prohibition set in, the Soda Fountain received a bad reputation of being habit forming and intoxicating, but slowly this changed into a soft drink machine, and when the prohibition period set in, the Soda Fountain once again rose in popularity, becoming the social spot that replaced the closed bars.
After the end of the prohibition period, the popularity of the drugstore Soda Machine went on a steady decline, as bars reopened, and the Soda Fountain lost its place as a social gathering spot and bars once again took over. After this, the Soda Fountain lasted for another good 30 years, with its popularity steadily declining, after which it finally capitulated during the seventies and is now considered to be a museum piece, and a testimony to a roaring past in human history.
Still the visionary concept of the Soda Machine was not lost, and we see it again in modern days, with the rise of popular home soda makers that people can purchase for making soda at home.
While smaller, easier to use and faster, they still work from the same principle as the original Soda Fountain from the 1900s, with the difference being that using today’s understanding of substances and how they work inside the human body, modern Soda Machines produce soft drinks that are actually good for your health. With the arrival of these convenient home soda makers, we can see just a little of a revival of the old fashioned Soda Fountain, but this time instead of the drug stores the location is our own home.
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