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Introduction to Pop

The History of Soft Drinks Timeline

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Beverage can in ice
Jeffrey Coolidge/ Iconica/ Getty Images
This timeline accompanies Introduction to Pop - The History of Soft Drinks

Soft drinks by definition are carbonated drinks that are non-alcoholic. Carbonated soft drinks are also refereed to as soda, soda pop, pop, or tonic.

  • 1798 The term "soda water" first coined.
  • 1810 First U.S. patent issued for the manufacture of imitation mineral waters.
  • 1819 The "soda fountain" patented by Samuel Fahnestock.
  • 1835 The first bottled soda water in the U.S.
  • 1850 A manual hand & foot operated filling & corking device, first used for bottling soda water.
  • 1851 Ginger ale created in Ireland.
  • 1861 The term "pop" first coined.
  • 1874 The first ice-cream soda sold.
  • 1876 Root beer mass produced for public sale.
  • 1881 The first cola-flavored beverage introduced.
  • 1885 Charles Aderton invented "Dr Pepper" in Waco, Texas.
  • 1886 Dr. John S. Pemberton invented "Coca-Cola" in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • 1892 William Painter invented the crown bottle cap.
  • 1898 "Pepsi-Cola" is invented by Caleb Bradham.
  • 1899 The first patent issued for a glass blowing machine, used to produce glass bottles.
  • 1913 Gas motored trucks replaced horse drawn carriages as delivery vehicles.
  • 1919 The American Bottlers of Carbonated Beverages formed.
  • 1920 The U.S. Census reported that more than 5,000 bottlers now exist.
  • Early 1920's The first automatic vending machines dispensed sodas into cups.
  • 1923 Six-pack soft drink cartons called "Hom-Paks" created.
  • 1929 The Howdy Company debuted its new drink "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Sodas" later called "7 Up". Invented by Charles Leiper Grigg.
  • 1934 Applied color labels first used on soft drink bottles, the coloring was baked on the face of the bottle.
  • 1952 The first diet soft drink sold called the "No-Cal Beverage" a gingerale sold by Kirsch.
  • 1957 The first aluminum cans used.
  • 1959 The first diet cola sold.
  • 1962 The pull-ring tab first marketed by the Pittsburgh Brewing Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The pull-ring tab was invented by Alcoa.
  • 1963 The Schlitz Brewing company introduced the "Pop Top" beer can to the nation in March, invented by Ermal Fraze of Kettering, Ohio.
  • 1965 Soft drinks in cans dispensed from vending machines.
  • 1965 The resealable top invented.
  • 1966 The American Bottlers of Carbonated Beverages renamed The National Soft Drink Association.
  • 1970 Plastic bottles are used for soft drinks.
  • 1973 The PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottle created.
  • 1974 The stay-on tab invented. Introduced by the Falls City Brewing Company of Louisville, KY.
  • 1979 Mello Yello soft drink is introduced by the Coca Cola company as competition against Mountain Dew.
  • 1981 The "talking" vending machine invented.
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