Today we look back at the soda fountain, created by Soda Jerk, that would have been at your local general store or apothecary. At the turn of the last century, the back bar behind the Soda Jerk would have been filled with an array of different dispensers. Today, I will be sharing two different pieces from my collection; Ward’s Orange Crush Dispenser, from 1916, and Syrup bottle, and a much rarer and scarcer example of a Ward’s Lemon Crush from 1919. Both still with their original plunger pumps. Neil Ward and Clayton Howel collectively founded, “Ward’s Crush” in 1911. Ward was a chemist from California, while Howel was a businessman, who had already tested the soda fountain waters with his own soda brand, “Howel’s Orange Julep”!
At the turn of the 19th century, soda fountains were a meeting place, with bottled soda not yet readily available and demand being high. Concentrated syrup was transported and sold to customers, who merely then would add carbonated water to create soda (just two ingredients!). This type of dispenser became a very effective way in advertising one’s own brand, with Coca-Cola being in the lead.
Ward’s crush, both orange and lemon, focused on citrus fruits, primarily juice from oranges and Meyer lemons. Their dispensers were simple, colourful, vibrant, and figuratively shaped like an orange and lemon. Both dispensers have been in my personal collection for over 30 years. The Ward’s orange crush was acquired from a private collector in Woodstock, Ontario. The Ward’s lemon crush was acquired from a fellow collector in Toronto, Ontario.
Each were made of ceramic, craze free, crack free and still vibrant with their eye-popping colors. These dispensers are authentic and important parts of my collection as they have remained in mint condition with minimal color loss. The pump lever handles and body display great patina and are fully functional, along with correct ceramic identification lever balls. The dispensers were used all the way into the 1950’s, and they are both displayed within my soda dispenser collection creating pleasurable viewing. They conjure up memories of simpler times and how merely going out for a soda was a real treat. I wonder how many sodas the units have dispensed and the places they may have actually been located? Until next time Happy hunting!