Updated: November 18, 2014
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the quantity of unsubstantiated misinformation that has been published
(and subsequently plagiarized and republished ad nauseum) for many
years, documentation of facts detailing the
During one of his visits to Doc Pemberton’s ramshackle
headquarters, Dobbs (Samuel Candler Dobbs, Asa Candler’s nephew) spotted
the primitive bottling operation under the coal shed out in the
backyard, and he was fascinated.
The Matthews machine was little more than a wooden table with
tubes connected to a generator and a pair of crude metal cylinders.
It had hand and foot levers that were used to lower a valve,
squirt syrup and carbonated water into a bottle, and secure an internal
rubber disk and wire contraption known as a Hutchinson stopper as a
seal. The carbonation was
provided by the old-fashioned, malodorous method of mixing sulfuric acid
and marble dust, and then forcing the escaping gas into water held under
pressure in one of the cylinders.
The process was ‘typically unsanitary, dirty, and antique,’ Dobbs
had to admit…Bottles with
Thomas (Benjamin Franklin Thomas) scraped together
several hundred dollars and opened a bottling plant in
Customers faced a different sort of danger: spoilage.
The author’s reprinting of the tired old myth attributing the term
“soda pop” to
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Today’s consumers give little
thought to soft drink bottling; product pricing and packaging
convenience are their primary considerations.
Most of us probably envision computer-controlled processing lines
of fast moving bottles (and cans) being filled by automated dispensing
machinery, followed quickly by automated sealing and packaging.
Obviously, soft drink bottling has evolved greatly during the
past two centuries. Soda bottling
processes utilized during the 1879 – World War
I "Hutchinson era" have remained a mystery for too long.
Many people are content simply knowing
During the earliest days of the soda and mineral water industry, consumers traveled to the source of the products, rather than the products being packaged for delivery to them. This included people going to spas located at or near mineral water springs, and also purchasing drinks dispensed from soda fountains that were typically operated in conjunction with drug stores. The concept of packaging soda and mineral water in glass and stoneware bottles for delivery to customers didn’t develop as an industry and catch on with consumers until the 1830s-1840s.
W. H. Hutchinson and Son advertised their Hutchinson's Patent Spring Stoppers as "perfect," and "sure to become the only Stopper used for Soda and Mineral Water Bottles." Although their stoppers weren't perfect, they were by far the closure of choice for a majority of North American soda bottlers and their customers during the Hutchinson era. The enormous success enjoyed by W. H. Hutchinson and Son was the end result of a closure methodology accepted by bottlers and customers, plus a consistent and prolific advertising program. The following pages include information about how Hutchinson's Patent Spring Stoppers were marketed, descriptions of stopper-related tools, and day-to-day hints provided by bottlers who used Hutchinson stoppers.
Several tidbits of information
incorporated into W. H. Hutchinson and Son’s advertising materials
provide clues concerning design of the bottles that utilized
The extensive information presented here was gleaned from very-difficult-to-obtain, original source materials. Each sequential step in the Hutchinson bottling process is described in considerable detail, with illustrations provided wherever possible. We believe this is the most accurate and detailed explanation of the Hutchinson bottling process that has ever been documented.