Liquid Carbonic Company Soda Fountain
The Liquid Carbonic Company made soda fountains that were superior to all others. They manufactured extremely heavy fountains that were lined with zinc and covered with marble. The syrup and ice cream was dispensed in ceramic containers housed in the highest quality stainless steel.
Soderlund Village Drug purchased a Liquid Carbonic Company soda fountain from a closed drugstore in Buffalo Center Iowa in 2003. This soda fountain was one of the best ones ever made. It was a permanent fixture in the town since the 1920's. One elderly gentleman from Buffalo Center commented that he remembered that fountain when he was a kid. He would buy a huge pineapple malt for 10 cents back in the 20's.
The Liquid Carbonic Company 1928 Soda Fountain
Notice the workmanship in this excellent example of a Liquid Carbonic Company soda fountain.
The fountain was moved to its present location in October 2003. It contains 20 individual pieces of marble. We estimate that with the marble it weighs over 3,500 pounds. This nostalgic soda fountain can be viewed at Soderlund "Village Drug" located in downtown St. Peter, Minnesota.
The Early History of the Liquid Carbonic Company
The Early History of the Liquid Carbonic Company
The history of the Liquid Carbonic Company is the history of the American soda fountain. The Liquid Carbonic Company was founded in 1888 by Jacob Baur a second-generation pharmacist from Indiana and was originally called the Liquid Carbonic Acid Manufacturing Company. The “Liquid Carbonic” Company came into distinction within the soda fountain manufacturing because it offered the fountain owners a way to produce their own carbonated water. This increased revenue and reduced the cost of operation for the soda fountain owner.
Liquid Carbonic Company Founded Upon Carbonic Acid
The whole great business of the Liquid Carbonic Company was “founded on its Carbonic Acid Gas.” “The Liquid” was the first to produce this gas commercially, and for some years its whole business was the gas business. Around 1900 the “Liquid Carbonic” Company made inroads into the actual manufacturing of soda fountains. The Liquid Carbonic Company produced the “Liquid Iceless” soda fountain that used ammonia gas as the refrigerant.
In 1909 the Liquid Carbonic Co. produced a device called the “Liquid-Diamond” Carbonator. This was a machine that produced carbonated water at the rate of 20 gallons per day that “is enough for all but the very largest soda fountains”. The “Liquid-Diamond” carbonator was electrified which in 1909 was a technological advance. The “Liquid Diamond” carbonator required “less electricity that one 16 C.P. light-bulb consumes”. The “Liquid Diamond” along with the exquisite soda fountains they produced catapulted the Liquid Carbonic Company into the history books as the act to beat in the soda fountain world.
Even though the Liquid Carbonic Company made and sold soda fountains and all the accessories, they claimed the “first consideration in the minds of the owners of this business was the superiority of its gas” filled tanks. “The Liquid,” as they referred to themselves wanted to be known as the originator of “Liquid Gas”, and the manufacturer of the purest gas that the genius of man has been able to produce.
Liquid Carbonic Co. Soda Fountains
The Liquid Carbonic Company decided to manufacture soda fountains in “self defense” because they were concerned about sanitation. During the early 1900’s the public became aware of the importance of sanitation. The Liquid Carbonic Company built soda fountains to allow cleaning and sanitation to be performed. Interestingly, cork was thought to be the only insulation that could be used to promote sanitation. Therefore the Liquid Carbonic Company used cork to insulate their early soda fountains.
By 1909 the “Liquid Carbonic” Company claimed that they were the “world’s largest builders of soda fountains”. Additionally the “Liquid Carbonic” Company offered a variety of soda fountain merchandise like utensils, syrups and even canned fruit of the “highest quality”. This made the “Liquid Carbonic” Company “the world’s greatest purveyors of everything used in or about a soda fountain”.
The Liquid Carbonic Company built a state of the art facility in 1910 on 22 acres of land in Chicago referred to as the “Liquid” Works. The “Liquid Carbonic” Co. had its main office in Chicago Illinois with branch offices in New York, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City and Dallas.
The reason the Liquid Carbonic Company made such inroads into the soda fountain business was that most of the fountain owners were buying the carbonated water… they weren’t making it themselves. Vendors would deliver this bulky carbonated water to the drugstore soda fountain. Back in 1910 this water cost ten to twelve cents per gallon. The Liquid Carbonic Co. offered the soda jerk a way to reduce costs by making the carbonated water for an amount that would “not exceed one cent a gallon for the gas”. This was very attractive to the druggists and other soda fountain purveyors who could reduce their overhead by purchasing this “Liquid Diamond” carbonator.
Other Liquid Carbonic Co. Soda Fountain Needs
The Liquid Carbonic Company produced a variety of goods that the owner of a soda fountain could sell. Liquid fruits and syrups included “Crushed Fruits,” “Whole Fruits” and “Nut Confections.” These items came in basically a Mason jar with a rubber seal and a glass lid complete with the metal hinged closer.
These various Liquid Carbonic Co. soda fountain items were produced "in response to the inferior confections being sold by unscrupulous dealers of fruit".
Liquid Carbonic Co. Made
The Liquid Carbonic Company also made and marketed “Cherrie Punch”. Because the public remembered the soda fountains of the late 1800’s which were just glorified halls of intoxication the Liquid Carbonic Company advertised the “Cherrie Punch” as...
“it isn’t medicinal, won’t cure anything… isn’t intoxicating or habit forming – it’s just flavory, fruity, snappy, sparkling, delicious.”
It came in a five gallon bottle along with a metal “double – wall insulated” dispenser and sold for $12.00. Additionally the Liquid Carbonic Company produced “Diamond” brand grape juice concentrate that was “free of germs” which was a big consideration at the turn of the last century.
Jacob Baur the Inventor of the Soda Fountain
Jacob Baur was born in 1857 in Terre Haute, Indiana, was the son of a pharmacist Jacob Baur attended and graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1887. Later that same year he invented a process to put carbon dioxide into pressurized cylinders for distribution. In 1888 Jacob Baur founded the Liquid Carbonic Acid
Manufacturing Co., which later became the Liquid Carbonic Company. The Liquid Carbonic Company was built upon making and selling tanks of liquid carbon dioxide. Jacob Baur is referred to as the “inventor of the soda fountain”. Jacob Baur died July 19th, 1912 at the age of 55 a very wealthy man.
The Liquid Carbonic Company Diamond Emblem
I have placed excerpts from the "Liquid Carbonic Co. Soda Water Guide" on the following sub pages. It is a very interesting read! This book was published by the Liquid Carbonic Company in 1909 and contains information about all aspects of the operation of a soda fountain...