Soda Jerks: Heroes Of The Past

Glass, Soda Water, Soda Water Bottles

Originally, what was known as a soda fountain was a device that dispensed carbonated soft drinks and carbonated water, but as time went on, it had been used as a general term for an ice cream store and lunch counter, what we know as soda fountains.

It caught on quickly and, along with three partners, he began expanding into New York City and Baltimore. From the mid 1800s they knew they had a winner, especially with the inclusion of light dishes, where anyone could grab a quick sandwich together with a frozen delight. The idea of drug shops was pretty inventive, because cola syrups were instilled with fizzy water and initially sold as digestives. Soda fountains could be elaborate with marble counters and Tiffany lamps or plain, usually with a mirrored back wall and the familiar goose-neck soda water dispenser which the servers, known affectionately as”soda jerks”, who worked those black-handled spigots and stuffed up glasses, creating wonderfully bubbly beverages which ticked noses and delighted taste buds. Developing a popular meeting place for all ages, small town and large cities embraced them and clients frequently stood in line for a seat during active hours, thankfully considering their orders. On warm summer evenings, a fizzy fresh lemonade chilled off hungry patrons or even better, a banana split could be shared with a best friend or sister.

What does Squirrel Poop Look Like? Most soda fountains stocked chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream (some even featured New York cherry, butter pecan and tutti-frutti) along with chocolate, strawberry and marshmallow syrups. To top things off, crushed nuts and maraschino cherries added to the visual delight of those glorious concoctions. Hot fudge sundaes were created to serve on Sundays when religions forbade the sale of fizzy water, thus banning the favorite chocolate ice cream sodas from being served. (Apparently the ice cream and syrup were not considered sinful but the soda water was–go figure.)

Regrettably, in the 1950s drug stores moved in the direction of self support, eliminating lunch counters and ice cream altogether, and fast food began to replace the lunch counter with hamburgers and shakes that bore little resemblance to their predecessors. Out with the old, in with the new as a growing number of space was needed for the countless shelves displaying boxed and bottled goods, substituting the soda jerks and less income-generating egg salad sandwiches.

Nowadays, there are still ice cream parlors and vintage fountains sprinkled around the country, continuing the nostalgia of the originals, And in smallish towns, root beer stands still thankfully serve prepackaged and soft serve ice cream, but it isn’t quite the same. Oh sure, you can go to Dairy Queen or Baskin-Robbins and get a sundae or even a banana split, but something is missing. Is it those hats, or is it merely a part of history?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *