Even though Dr Pepper (note the brand has no period after “Dr” since 1950) was eventually (year 1963) legally declared not a cola, it looks like cola and tastes like cola (to me).
A federal court ruled that Dr Pepper’s unique flavor kept it from being a “cola product,” which meant that bottlers were free to distribute Dr Pepper without running afoul of their exclusive deals with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. By the end of the decade, Dr Pepper was available from coast to coast.
The Dr Pepper Snapple Group is the oldest major manufacturer of soft drink concentrates and syrups in the United States. Dr Pepper is America’s unique flavor and was created, manufactured and sold beginning in 1885 in the Central Texas town of Waco. ~ Dr Pepper Museum
The U.S. Patent Office recognizes December 1, 1885, as the first time Dr Pepper was served. It was introduced nationally in the United States at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition as a new kind of soda pop, made with 23 flavors. Its introduction in 1885 preceded the introduction of Coca-Cola by one year. (emphasis added) ~ Wikipedia: Dr Pepper
MORRISON’S OLD CORNER DRUG STORE
Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist working at Morrison’s store, is believed to be the inventor of the now famous drink. Alderton spent most of his time mixing up medicine for the people of Waco, but in his spare time he liked to serve carbonated drinks at the soda fountain. He liked the way the drug store smelled, with all of the fruit syrup flavor smells mixing together in the air. He decided to create a drink that tasted like that smell. He kept a journal, and after numerous experiments he finally hit upon a mixture of fruit syrups that he liked.
Alderton’s handwritten recipe is titled “Dr. Pepper’s Pepsin Bitters“, but the advertisements state “Dr. Pepper’s Phos-Ferrates“.
In 2009, an old ledger book filled with formulas and recipes was discovered by Bill Waters while shopping at antiques stores in the Texas Panhandle. Several sheets and letterheads hinted it had come from the W.B. Morrison & Co. Old Corner Drug Store (the same store where Dr Pepper was first served in 1885) and faded letters on the book’s cover spelled out “Castles Formulas”. John Castles was a partner of Morrison’s for a time and worked at that location as early as 1880. One recipe in the book titled “D Peppers Pepsin Bitters” was of particular interest, and some speculated it could be an early recipe for Dr Pepper. However, Dr Pepper Snapple Group insists it is not the formula for Dr Pepper, but is instead a medicinal recipe for a digestive aid. The book was put up for auction in May 2009, but no one purchased it. (emphasis added)
According to Anne Cooper Funderburg in Sundae Best: A History of Soda Fountains (page 69), “Morrison” was properly known as Wade B. Morrison. In 1882, Wade was brought in as a partner to sole owner of the Old Corner Drug Store, John W. Castles (who originally opened the store in 1880), but soon bought Castles out and became the sole proprietor himself. Morrison employed Charles C. Alderton, the young pharmacist, “unusually cosmopolitan for Waco”, wrote Anne Cooper Fundeburg (pp 69-70), “Born in New York, he had attended college in England and had earned a medical degree at the University of Texas. Since mixing potions was a major part of his work, it’s not surprising that he began to experiment with various ingredients and flavorings. His efforts paid off when he concocted an unusual blend that the locals loved. Since he had no name for it, the fountain regulars would order a Waco or simply say, “Shoot a Waco.””
19TH CENTURY ADVERTISING
- No Caffeine
- No Cocaine
- “Defends your children against an army of caffeine-doped beverages, as the great Horatius defended Rome”
- Brain Food and Exhilarant– Drink it when a cool head is needed, or important business to transact
- “Contains nothing detrimental or injurious to the most delicate system”
While Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola each sold for five cents per glass at this time, Dr. Pepper’s Phos-Ferrates sold for two glasses for five cents.
The following advertisement (below) is good for a chuckle. “Brush the cob-webs out of your brains! And regulate your digestion by drinking Dr. Pepper’s Phos-Ferrates! Equal to the finest champagne. Nothing so palatable and Refreshing ever before offered to the American People.” The (above) 1890 advertisement called Dr. Pepper’s Phos-Ferrates “the best tonic, besides a most refreshing drink”, and (to repeat) essentially promises stimulant-like wakefulness and “regulate your digestion”. Interesting promises.
What exactly is a tonic?
Both noun definitions (1 and 2) and the applicable adjective definition (1) apply. I suppose Dr. Pepper could have meant that its beverage, a tonic, meant simply short for tonic water… but given the cob-web mentions and claims of regulating digestion, historians statements of Dr Pepper’s product placement as a medicine is supported by the Noun (1) definition of tonic: “a medicinal substance taken to give a feeling of vigor or well-being. synonyms: stimulant, restorative, refresher, medicine.”
But why is (1890) Dr Pepper so popular?
WHAT IS A PHOS-FERRATE? (also Phosferrate or Phos Ferrate)
Lillie & Co. have secured the exclusive agency of Dr. Peppers Phosferrate [sic], the most healthful of summer drinks. It contains phosphorus and iron, two of our best known tonics and is so combined with pleasant aromatics as to make it the most delightful beverage in existence. Remember it is served only at Lillie & Co.’s fountain. If you want a delicious drink and one that will tone up your system and make you strong try Dr. peppers Phosferrates. [sic] (emphasis added)
~ The Guthrie Daily Leader of Guthrie, Oklahoma, on July 21, 1895.
There you have it. Phos-Ferrates meant (according to 1895 article, above) that the delicious, healthful drink contained phosphorous and iron.
LOGO HELPS ANSWER THE QUESTION
The original logo, used wheat fronds and an iron anvil–as signs of healthful benefits.
Wheat, maize, and rice are natural sources of the following minerals: calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and copper. They are also natural sources of the following B vitamins: folate (B9), thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), and biotin (B7).
So, yes, wheat contains phosphorous and iron. Current (21st century) science allows for a wide variance, dependent upon mineral content in the soil and is improved by use of phosphate fertilizer. Today’s cereal and wheat products are fortified with a variety of vitamins and minerals, including phosphorous (and iron).
Phosphorus is a key Nutrient for plant growth and development…. Phosphorus (P) is an essential macro nutrient. It is vital to plant growth and is found in every living plant cell.
But… Dr Pepper contained no wheat. Instead, Dr Pepper contained phosphorous and iron… a nineteenth century claim to “healthful” and “nutritious”, thus supporting its early 20th century claim to “King of Beverages”.
1889-1914 “King of Beverages”
From 1910 to 1914, Dr Pepper was identified with the slogan, “King of Beverages”.
Despite the disagreement about when the slogan was first applied to Dr Pepper, this soda fountain beverage wasn’t alone in using the slogan “King of Beverages”, as Batavia Coffee, advertised by John Esterbrooks in Lead, South Dakota’s Lead Daily Call on October 25, 1901, shows the same slogan in an illustrated ad.
The Lebanon Brewery also pronounced a foaming beverage the “king of beverages”. See highlighted section of announcement, in following article. Published in Lebanon Daily News of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, on April 20, 1889.
LOOKING BACK…and chuckling
Copyright © 2017 Kristin Holt LC