SCHWEPPES HAS FORGOTTEN

TODAY, THE 18th NOVEMBER, THE DEUTSCHLANDFUNK (AND SPIRITSCHWEPPES) CHARGE THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF JACOB SCHWEPPE’S DEATH.

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Inventors and the globalization of the soda. Out of curiosity, the Hessian silversmith Jacob Schweppe dealt with the production of artificial mineral water at the end of the 18th century. A global beverage brand bears his name 200 years after his death on November 18, 1821. “A little bit of pure soda dissolved in about half a liter of water and carbonated – for me there is no more effective remedy that is harmless of side effects can be taken. It helps against bladder stones when drunk once or twice a day and is sold by Jacob Schweppe at Number 8 King’s Street in London under the name ‘artificial seltzer water’. “Jacob Schweppe had waited a long time for this: that the doctors would notice him. And now, in 1794, none other than Erasmus Darwin, one of the most famous doctors in England, worked for him. Darwin knew God and the world, others would follow his advice, and Schweppe could say to himself: He had done everything right when, initially out of pure curiosity, he switched to the production of artificial mineral water.Chemist Joseph Priestley – the soda pioneerSchweppe, born in 1740 in Witzenhausen, Hesse, was a trained silversmith. He moved to Geneva in 1766, where he became a partner in a jewelry store. But that alone did not satisfy him, wrote Douglas A. Simmons in his book about the history of the beverage company founded by Jacob Schweppe. “On the side, Schweppe was an enthusiastic hobby researcher. He loved to rummage through the specialist literature and to reproduce experiments that were reported there. ”Around 1772 Schweppe came across an article by the English chemist Joseph Priestley, which he was particularly interested in. With the help of sulfuric acid and a calcareous solution, Priestley had succeeded for the first time in making water sparkle. As we know today, he added carbonic acid or carbon dioxide to the water – he himself still spoke of “fixed air”.In search of artificial healing waterThe water bubbled like the natural mineral waters used for medicinal purposes from ancient times, and Priestley had come to believe that an artificial mineral water that could be made bubbling with his method was on a par with natural mineral waters in terms of their medicinal properties might, if not even be superior. Schweppe followed Priestley’s experimental instructions, but was not satisfied with the result. So he built his own device with which he could exert a higher pressure and thereby pump even more carbon dioxide into his water. The more strongly the water gushed, the greater the healing effect must be – so the assumption. Quote “After all, the quality had improved significantly. And Schweppe was sorry to just throw away his water. He therefore suggested that the doctors give it to poorer patients free of charge, who might benefit from it. “Triumphant advance through the pharmacies. In 1783 Schweppe got a patent for his invention. In 1790 he founded his own company together with the mechanic Nicolas Paul and the pharmacist Henri-Albert Gosse. The in-house products were praised for their purity and consistent quality and sold in pharmacies – as a remedy for stomach and intestinal problems, kidney, bladder and gallbladder ailments and also bronchial catarrh.A table water like champagneIn 1792 Schweppe went to England to set up a company branch there. Because business was slow, the partners soon separated again. Schweppe stayed in London, where he finally managed to gain a foothold in the market, largely thanks to the support of prominent doctors such as Erasmus Darwin. In addition to his medicinal waters, Schweppe also had table water on offer, which some people, because it was so beautifully pearled, reminded them of champagne. In 1798 he sold three quarters of his company shares. Schweppe moved back to Geneva, where he died on November 18, 1821. In the period that followed, his company changed hands several times – and expanded. Since 1831, “J. Schweppe & Co. ”- the name had been retained – purveyor to the British Crown. Four years later, the company sold its first lemonade. In 1851, the owners at the time landed their greatest coup to date. They acquired the exclusive right to supply visitors to the World’s Fair in London with soft drinks – whereupon sales exploded. A huge mineral water fountain had been set up in the entrance hall of the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. It still adorns the logo of the now global company.

By Irene Meichsner | 11/18/2021

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