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The origin, history and composition about soft drink

A soft drink (also called soda, pop, coke, soda pop, fizzy drink, tonic, or carbonated beverage) is a non-alcoholic beverage that typically contains water (often, but not always carbonated water), a sweetener, and a flavoring agent. The sweetener may be sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or a sugar substitute (in the case of diet drinks).

A soft drink may also contain caffeine or fruit juice, or both.

Examples of beverages not considered to be soft drinks are: pure juice, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, milk, and milkshakes. Beverages like Gatorade and Powerade may meet the definition of a soft drink but are usually called sports drinks.

Soft drinks are called "soft" in contrast to "hard drinks" (alcoholic beverages). Small amounts of alcohol may be present in a soft drink, but the alcohol content must be less than 0.5% of the total volume if the drink is to be considered non-alcoholic.

Widely sold soft drink flavors are cola, lemon-lime, root beer, orange, grape, vanilla, ginger ale, fruit punch, and sparkling lemonade.

Soft drinks may be served chilled or at room temperature. They are rarely heated.

A glass of cola


The first marketed soft drinks (non-carbonated) in the Western world appeared in the 17th century. They were made from water and lemon juice sweetened with honey. In 1676, the Compagnie des Limonadiers of Paris was granted a monopoly for the sale of lemonade soft drinks. Vendors carried tanks of lemonade on their backs and dispensed cups of the soft drink to thirsty Parisians.

 Carbonated drinks

Soft drinks displayed on supermarket shelves.

In late 18th century, scientists made important progress in replicating naturally carbonated mineral waters. In 1767, Englishman Joseph Priestley first discovered a method of infusing water with carbon dioxide to make carbonated water which has 3.4 mg in the drink when he suspended a bowl of distilled water above a beer vat at a local brewery in Leeds, England. His invention of carbonated water, (also known as soda water), is the major and defining component of most soft drinks.

Priestley found that water treated in this manner had a pleasant taste, and he offered it to friends as a refreshing drink. In 1772, Priestley published a paper entitled Impregnating Water with Fixed Air in which he describes dripping oil of vitriol (or sulfuric acid as it is now called) onto chalk to produce carbon dioxide gas, and encouraging the gas to dissolve into an agitated bowl of water.

Another Englishman, John Mervin Nooth, improved Priestley's design and sold his apparatus for commercial use in pharmacies. Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman invented a generating apparatus that made carbonated water from chalk by the use of sulfuric acid. Bergman's apparatus allowed imitation mineral water to be produced in large amounts. Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius started to add flavors (spices, juices and wine) to carbonated water in the late 18th century.

 Phosphate soda

A variant of soda in the United States called "phosphate soda" appeared in the late 1870s. It became one of the most popular soda fountain drinks from 1900 through the 1930s, with the lemon or orange phosphate being the most basic. The drink consists of 1 US fl oz (30 ml) fruit syrup, 1/2 teaspoon of phosphoric acid, and enough carbonated water and ice to fill a glass. This drink was commonly served in pharmacies.

 Soda fountain pioneers

Artificial mineral waters, usually called "soda water", and the soda fountain made the biggest splash in the United States. Beginning in 1806, Yale chemistry professor Benjamin Silliman sold soda waters in New Haven, Connecticut. He used a Nooth apparatus to produce his waters. Businessmen in Philadelphia and New York City also began selling soda water in the early 19th century. In the 1830s, John Matthews of New York City and John Lippincott of Philadelphia began manufacturing soda fountains. Both men were successful and built large factories for fabricating fountains.

 Soda fountains vs. bottled sodas

The drinking of either natural or artificial mineral water was considered a healthy practice. The American pharmacists selling mineral waters began to add herbs and chemicals to unflavored mineral water. They used birch bark (see birch beer), dandelion, sarsaparilla, fruit extracts, and other substances. Flavorings were also added to improve the taste. Pharmacies with soda fountains became a popular part of American culture. Many Americans frequented the soda fountain on a daily basis. Due to problems in the U.S. glass industry, bottled drinks were a small portion of the market in the 19th century. (However, they were known in England. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, published in 1848, the caddish Huntingdon, recovering from months of debauchery, wakes at noon and gulps a bottle of soda-water. In America, most soft drinks were dispensed and consumed at a soda fountain, usually in a drugstore or ice cream parlor. In the early 20th century, sales of bottled soda increased exponentially. In the second half of the 20th century, canned soft drinks became an important share of the market.

 Soft drink bottling industry

Over 1,500 U.S. patents were filed for either a cork, cap, or lid for the carbonated drink bottle tops during the early days of the bottling industry. Carbonated drink bottles are under great pressure from the gas. Inventors were trying to find the best way to prevent the carbon dioxide or bubbles from escaping. In 1892, the "Crown Cork Bottle Seal" was patented by William Painter, a Baltimore, Maryland machine shop operator. It was the first very successful method of keeping the bubbles in the bottle.

 Automatic production of glass bottles

In 1899, the first patent was issued for a glass-blowing machine for the automatic production of glass bottles. Earlier glass bottles had all been hand-blown. Four years later, the new bottle-blowing machine was in operation. It was first operated by the inventor, Michael Owens, an employee of Libby Glass Company. Within a few years, glass bottle production increased from 1,400 bottles a day to about 58,000 bottles a day.

 Home-Paks and vending machines

During the 1920s, "Home-Paks" were invented. "Home-Paks" are the familiar six-pack cartons made from cardboard. Vending machines also began to appear in the 1920s. Since then, soft drink vending machines have become increasingly popular. Both hot and cold drinks are sold in these self-service machines throughout the world.