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Daily Object Photo: Soft Drink Machine

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Soda Fountain

A soda fountain is a device that dispenses carbonated drinks. They can be found in restaurants, concession stands and other locations such as convenience stores. The device combines syrup (commonly dispensed from a Bag-In-Box), carbon dioxide, and water to make soft drinks.

By extension, the term also may refer to a small eating establishment, common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, often within a pharmacy or other business, serving soda beverages, ice cream, and sometimes light meals.

The soda fountain was an attempt to replicate mineral waters that bubbled up from the Earth. Many civilizations believed that drinking and/or bathing in these mineral waters cured diseases, and large industries often sprang up around hot springs, such as Bath in England or the many onsen of Japan. Early scientists tried to create effervescent waters with curative powers, including Robert Boyle, Friedrich Hoffmann, Jean Baptiste van Helmont, William Brownrigg, Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, and David Macbride. In the early 1770s, Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman and English scientist Joseph Priestley invented equipment for saturating water with carbon dioxide. In 1774 John Mervin Nooth demonstrated an apparatus that improved upon Priestley's design. In 1807 Henry Thompson received the first British patent for a method of impregnating water with carbon dioxide. This was commonly called soda water, although it contained no soda.

The soda fountain began in Europe, but achieved its greatest success in the U.S. Benjamin Silliman, a Yale chemistry professor, was among the first to introduce soda water to America. In 1806 Silliman purchased a Nooth apparatus and began selling mineral waters in New Haven, Connecticut. Sales were brisk, so he built a bigger apparatus, opened a pump room, and took in three partners. This partnership opened soda fountains in New York City and Baltimore, Maryland. At roughly the same time, other businessmen opened fountains in NYC and Philadelphia. Although Silliman's business eventually failed, he played an important role in popularizing soda water.

(Source: Wikipedia.org)

 

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