18th February 1887. Codswallop.
Today in 1887 saw the death of Hiram Codd, one of the pioneers behind the technology of bottles for the growing carbonated water ‘fizzy-pop’ trade. The jury is still out as to whether ‘Codswallop’ comes from Mr Codd’s products.
It was Codd who took out a patent in 1872, thus producing a bottle which relied on being filled under gas pressure which pushed a marble against a rubber washer causing a perfect seal.(1)
Back in 1767 Joseph Priestley invented carbonated water having discovered a method of infusing water with carbon dioxide (CO2) when he suspended a bowl of water above a beer vat in a Leeds brewery, known as ‘fixed air’.
In 1772 Priestley published ‘Impregnating Water with Fixed Air’, which described the dripping of oil of vitriol (sulfuric acid) onto chalk thus forming CO2.(2)
The great commercial result of sulphuric acid was the formation of Schweppes and numerous other mineral water manufacturers in the 19th century making non-alcoholic beverages using CO2.
It is this CO2, which when dissolved in water, makes carbonic acid which gives the fizz in ‘pop’.(3)
Thus we see companies such as R.White’s lemonade first produced in 1845 by Robert and Mary White, who originally sold their product in stone bottles from a barrow in Camberwell, London.
It proved so popular that by 1869 the company had five production units across the English Midlands and south-east London. R. White was taken over by Whitbread’s in the 1960s and absorbed by Britvic Corp 1986 when Britvic became Britvic & Canada Dry Rawlings Ltd.
Britvic had started in 1938 as the British and Vitamin Product Co, becoming Britvic in 1949.
Corona was founded in the Rhondda Valley, Wales by William Thomas and William Evans in 1931 in response to the growing Temperance Movement, only to be absorbed by Beechams in 1958 and another to be acquired by Britvic in 1987.
Britvic also acquired brands such as Tango, Shandy Bass, R.Whites Lemonade, and Cidona as well as Robinson’s cordials.
A.G.Barr, the UK’s largest producer of ’soft drinks’ whose products include Irn Bru and American Cream Soda acquired Tizer (once the boy train-spotters companion), in 1972 a company launched in 1924 by Fred Pickup in Manchester, then known as Pickup’s Appetizer.
Even companies such Chivers (see advert below),now known for its marmalade, and Rowntrees for its cocoa chocolate once produced lemonade.
A stoneware bottle used by Nicolas Paul of London for its ‘Mephitic Water’ was discovered in the Thames, and is the earliest datable bottle (1802-5) for mineral water.
(1) Codd was born on 10th January 1838.
(2) Today nearly all sulphuric acid is produced using the Peregrine Phillips Contact Process by heating saltpetre which decomposes into sulfur oxide into SO3, which when combined with water produces sulphuric acid and was the first practical production of the acid on a large scale.
(3a) Carbonic acid is a weak acid and results from CO2 being dissolved in water (H2CO3). It is found in ‘fizzy drinks’, champagne, blood and rain.
(3b) Carbonic and phosphoric acids provide the tart and slightly burning sensation in ‘pop’.
Ref: barkinghistory.co.uk. Pic. Ref.
Ref: wessex-homebrew.co.uk. Pic.Ref.
Ref: diggersdiary.com/collect-mineral-water-bottles. Pic.Ref Codd Bottles.