Discover the chapter of marketing before Coca Cola

03 Schweppes

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Visionary Jacob Schweppe: the innovator. 

Passion for product innovation. Global effervescence. Mental refreshment.

Schweppes since 1783: the chapter before Coke.

A “Cheers!” Let us drink to John Stith Pemberton, the excellent medical practitioner and druggist. He was the one who handed his new tincture against headaches and fatigue over the counter in Atlanta on 8th May 1886 for the first time. The rest of the story goes like this: The inventive man gave away a billion dollar deal two year s later when he sold his formula for the ridiculously small amount of 2300 USD to the smart businessman Asa Griggs Candler. He turned the mixture into a brand now 79 billion USD worth and the “it-brand” of the world for ages. Until the year 2013 when Google (93 bn) and Apple (98 bn) prepared to overtake.

Me, a german bottle guy

05 Schweppes
From user to collector – the development from a copywriter to “Dr. h.c. Schweppes, the storyteller. Here at the Palmolive set with Jan Miner in 1979. The American is best known for her iconic role as the manicurist Madge in a 27-year series of television commercials for the Palmolive dish-washing detergent in the early 1960s until the late 1990s.
03 J.Schweppe
Why on earth must a total stranger from Germany tell this old story again to all the clever bottle-diggers and collectors? Because in all likelihood  a certain Jacob Schweppe from Witzenhausen/Germany had already set the course for Coca Cola & Co about 100 years earlier. Read all about it on the excellent website “bottles & bygones” from Mike Sheridan and in the 160 pages thick book “Schweppes – The First 200 Years “ by Douglas Simmons, the late secretary of Schweppes and Cadbury Schweppes / UK.
01 Schweppes Book 83

However, the traces of the author and his original documents and museum artifacts seem to have disappeared. Or maybe they are not open to the public. That is why there is not any “Soda hall of fame” anywhere in the world to honor the achievement of the godfather of all soft drinks. Schweppes does not have a home where, like in Germany, the smallest beer label becomes an authentic experience: the brewery, historic buildings, local museums, a collection. Not to mention the Marketing-Mecca in Atlanta. There is no hands-on experience, just a book, at least antiquarian.

Global player versus global players 

Looking at the historic context through my marketing eyes, Schweppes has opened the market for soft drinks. Schweppervescence has been making history for 230 years. Coca Cola is 100 years younger but is now far ahead in the market and a legend into the bargain. Maybe it is due to the concessions concessionaires had to make. Coca- Cola is backed up by Coca Cola and behind Schweppes are Suntory, Dr. Pepper, PepsiCo or Coca-Cola. The pioneer Schweppes in London, New York or Sidney – he is forgotten.

02 Schweppes

The family-tree of the modern softdrink-industry: Schweppes, the first 200 years, published 1983. Coca-Cola, the first 100 years, published 1986. With the competition-bottles of the the early 20th century.

The story is worth to be retold : by collectors

As an ebay-bottle-digger and soda-popper „Dr. h.c.Schweppes“  I have  finished my first terms. I am in touch with many collectors and communities and from the details they provide me with I learn something new every day, albeit realizing that not everything that can be found on the homepages and Wikipedia is true. Also, that there is so much more to be discovered.  From all over the world I receive bottles, memorabilia and documents for my small, private Schweppes museum in the native country of Jacob Schweppe. Maybe one day this collection will adorn the lounge of a famous hotel in Berlin. Or London?  So: Welcome, bienvenue, bienvenida – please enjoy the hands-on Schweppes story.

display spiritschweppesStorytelling crates on 10 m2: first steps of my private Schweppes-Museum nearby Berlin, Germany. The World of Coca-Cola in the heart of Atlanta/Georgia contains 5500 m2 – it is the Olympic idea, that counts.

From the Roman Empire to the British Empire

As opposed to the countries of the former British Empire, experts on bottle-digging, diving and collecting are very rare in Germany. To make up for this, “Germania” was already part of the Roman Empire of Julius Cesar since the 50s before Christ. I was born directly behind the 348 miles long Limes. When I was a child I used to dig for pieces of ‘Terra Sigillata” , the red shards of the Roman china. It can be found under in good condition. The fine art of „Cologne Glass“ can be marveled at under next to the cathedral. The imperial sources of fizzy waters constituted one of the three most important parts of Roman life: baths, wine, love. However, 2000 years ago such world famous mineral waters like Appolinaris, Fachingen, Pellegrino, Pyrmont, or Selters were fed into the swimming pools of the spas.

06 Schweppes

I was born directly behind the 348 miles long Limes boundary wall in Germany from the first century A.D. When I was a child I used to dig for pieces of ‘Terra Sigillata” , the red shards of the Roman china.

  Since 1783: Refreshment for the new world

With the French Revolution, in the 18th century, the era of enlightenment and the industrial revolution in England started, as well as the reformation of the economy and living conditions. The United States are founded and the British Empire (red) soon covers a quarter of the land area of the world. Jacob Schweppe is a successful watch-maker and scientist in Geneva/Switzerland. According to the patent of the English scientist Joseph Priestley for the production of artificial mineral water he develops the first industrial production line for mineral water together with the engineer Paul and the druggist Gosse in 1783, known as the Geneva-System. His products are an innovation. They contain a high dose of carbonic acid. This guarantees consistently high product quality in a safe packaging. They are available to the people at reasonable prices. Also, the soda waters and lemonades in their unmistakably marked egg-bottles already fulfilled the criteria for a modern brand more than 200 years ago. From 1792 the Schweppes products make their way from London to the million markets of the new world.

07 Schweppes

In the 18th century, Schweppes eggbottles were the ambassadors of effervescence around the globe.The Britisch Empire (red), covers a quarter of the land area of the world.

Egg-Bottle?  Hamilton Bottle? Torpedo Bottle? Ballast Bottle? Drunken Bottle ? 

Schweppes´ Bottle No. 1

01 Schweppes

This earthenware bottle, initially designed to lay on its side to keep the cork moist, has the branding SCHWEPPES & Co: 79. Margaret Street, London. It was developed according to the concept of Jacob Schweppe and produced between 1795 and 1831. The instruction read:  “In order to maintain the quality of the water the bottles should be kept in a cool place and lay on their side.” Only 6 bottles of the illustrated bottle type “Schweppes No.1” are known to exist worldwide. Later on, Schweppes switched to embossed glass bottles.

30 StoneGlass Scchweppes

Paul explained his preference for glass bottles over earthenware: “glass, though more expensive, retains the gas and can be transported more safely three or four hundred miles by land, or on a voyage to the East or West Indies. “Schweppes´”  System definitely was in use before 1809, when William Hamilton described it in his patent for a continuous carbonation process.

04 Schweppes

The first launch in the market were half pint pontiled bottles in olive green glass 1795 – 1831: J. Schweppe & Co, Genuine Superior Aerated Waters, 79 Margaret Street. The glassbottle was initially blown by hand. The embossing changed later on in Oxford Street, 51 Berners Street.

08 Schweppes

The estimated manymillion bestseller, produced 1831 – 1895 in London for the rest of the world. Embossed Oxford Street, 51 Berners Street. I vitalized it for the illustration with the authentic filling: triple carbonated soda water, the highpressured fizzzz for the typical schweppervescence of these times.

09 Schweppes

After Joseph Priestley´s patent of a practical method of making artificial mineral waters in 1772, the pharmacists and druggists in GB started to fill their homemade products into oval bottles, inspired by J.Schweppe & Co. At the beginning, these bottles were unembossed, certainly branded with papersigns, private labels or neckhangers. ref. google: Carbonated Soft Drinks: Formulation and Manufacture, Dr. David Steen,Philip R. Ashurst

Ready for the “blob” 

While wax and resin mixtures were used in the 15th century as a stopper, the cork is also mentioned in English literature in the early 1500s for the same purpose, in connection with bottles. And it was the stopper which permitted the development of the true champagne. This is the stopper which permitted the development of the true champagne. Schweppes relied for more than 100 years on the use of the wired-on cork. My illustrated example, still unopened original seal has survived undamaged 90 years in a cellar in Kent/UK.

10 Schweppes

The cork was not immediately “tied-on” in the early period for, in England, at least, the wired-on cork dates from 1675-1700. In the early champagne and wine days, the corked (sealed) bottle section was inverted in a wax compound or oil to coat the cork; the seal was thus improved.Wax stoppers, used in Mid-Continental Europe for alchemy and medicine, were replaced by tight corks after the latter’s discovery.Thus, corks became the common bottle stoppers during a 300 year period, from early development before 1600 to almost complete use until 1900. (Holscher 1965,  Berge 1980, about the early history of cork) The Schweppes glass containers very often travelled around the globe in all climate zones for weeks and months. Despite many other developments  in the 19th century, Schweppes relied for more than 100 years on the use of the wired-on cork. The illustrated, still unopened original seal has survived undamaged 90 years in a cellar in Kent/UK.


Royal Warrant of Appointment

13 Schweppes

The high esteem of the products and excellent social contacts enabled the brand to gain acceptance by the Royal Family. As purveyor to the court, from 1831 J. Schweppe & Co. was allowed to use the royal coat of arms in advertising. The shield is surrounded by a garter with the motto of the Order of the Garter in French: Honi soit qui mal y pense  (“shame upon him who thinks evil upon it”).

12 Schweppes

Bottle diving and bottle digging, illustrated with a pair of my Schweppes cordial bottles from the beginning of the 20th century. The right one is from Australia. The left one is from the English Channel nearby Southampton. The british harbour, where the 1912 Titanic departed to New York…

1851, the year of records

25 Schweppes Crystal Palace

24 Schweppes Crystal inside

In 1850, sales were 157.366 dozen. The first world exhibition in London in 1851 was  a welcome impetus to J. Schweppe & Co. The daringly conceived structure of glass and iron known as the Crystal Palace, built to house the exhibition, was erected in Hyde Park. Nearly 2000 feet long, it covered more than 18 acres, arching over several large elm trees. In the center, J. Schweppe & Co. built an 8 meter high fountain. Still today, this fountain is an integral part of the trademark.

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In all, six million visitors came from all parts of the globe. For 5.500 Pounds (8.800 USD) J. Schweppe & Co. were assigned the privilege as tenders for the supply of non alcoholic refreshments. J. Schweppe & Co. supplied their soda and other mineral waters, Aerated Lemonade, German Seltzer Water and their new Malvern Soda Water. The company’s sales amounted to well over one million bottles during the six months of the exhibition. Furthermore their sales in the country rose to 175,000 dozen in 1851. In 1852 they climbed again to 192,000 dozen. A record which yet had to be broken by Coca-Cola.

26 Schweppes fountain

Schweppes productions worldwide

During the 1870s Tonic Water and Ginger Ale had been added to the range. In 1877 J. Schweppe & Co. started their first overseas production in Sydney, further branches followed in Melbourne and Brooklyn in 1884.

16 Schweppes

The art of “schweppervescence”  

At the beginning of the 20th century the brand name J. Schweppe & Co. was finally turned into “Schweppes”. The fizzy phonetics of the founder’s name is the copy platform of internationally successful campaigns, like “All the best siphons say Sss…ch…weppe…ss..-“ (1931) and “Schweppervescence lasts the whole drink through” (1946)

 14 Schweppes

All over the world, the middle and upper classes could be won as premium customers. Schweppe’s Table Waters were served exclusively in royal households, leading clubs, hotels, steamship lines and spas throughout the world. Ad of 1920.

schweppes added value

31 Sortiment Schweppes 1906

The leading fullrange-segment of softdrinks: a Schweppes portfolio 1906. The stylish cap-lifter powered a brandnew innovation: the crown-cork. Introduced by Schweppes in 1905.

The end of the bloptop

Crown Cork Schweppes

Devellopping the cap for Coke

Before William Painter patented the crown-cork in 1892, a lot of developments of bottles-stoppers were made in the 18th and 19th century. The target was, to invent sealed safe-containers for the effervescence of beers and the exploding range of artificial sodas and softdrinks.
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After 100 years, Schweppes learns to fly. 

Coca-Cola learns to walk. 

In 1903, regular point-to-point flights became a possibility. In 1911, the twenty mail-carrying flights of the Coronation Aerial Post between London and Windsor were on the same basis. Schweppes sent a suitable message to their customers: “We were first in introducing Aerated Waters and have maintained our position as the premier firm for over 120 years. We again take the lead in addressing you by First Aerial Post, and ask you as a connoisseur to insist on having Schweppes Soda Water, Dry Ginger Ale or Tonic Water. It has reached every part of the world. Yours faithfully, SCHWEPPES LIMITED.“ The rest is a new story.

17 Schweppes


MAZ hjk 4.8.14

back to the roots in Germany


Christian, my friend and Schweppes collector, proudly presents “The Schweppes Globe”, purchased by auction in Australia, and his certificate for the Guinness book of records (!)

lonesome ebay bottle-diggers into the empire                            

schweppes german ebay diggers

No, our country never belonged to the British Empire and there will be never a local eggbottle under the meadows. But we are hardcore explorers and collectors, digging to the roots of mental refreshment. So we found out the never ending story of our countryman Jacob Schweppe, who teached the germans fizzy sophistication as added values from Britain since 1783. Lets ring the bell for schweppervescence!

A hidden place 

schweppes hidden place

Bad news for the Schweppes-Community: there is no Schweppes hall of fame worldwide. So our project must be No 1!  Parts of Christians private collection, digged in more than 20 years.

Our vision: a hall of fame for spirit schweppes

A flagship store, hot spot, eventcenter or meeting point, dedicated to inspired marketing and a fizzy community worldwide. Authentic. Open Source. Powered by schweppervescence, the spirit of Schweppes. 


Global spirit

32 Schweppes Exhibition 1900  

01 London Ludgate Schweppes

03 Burma Pav Wembley Schweppes

02 Foundershouse Bristol Schweppes

06 Park

04 Cider Display

05 POS

07 Squash Displayspiritschweppes 1925

33 Schweppes Genval 1923

35 Schweppes Aintree

34 Schweppes Bristol

Schweppes Jersey Card


12 Schweppes Geneva

Storytelling since 1783

Established the first softdrink-industry worldwide: Jacob Schweppes Geneva-System from 1783. “Priestley’s studies of 1772 would however capture the eye of a young German watchmaker in Geneva, Switzerland, who would ultimately bring Priestly’s science to the masses.  His name was  Jacob Schweppe.  After further experimentation, Schweppe was able to simplify carbonation through the application of two common compounds – sodium bicarbonate and tartaric acid.  Schweppe branded this process the Geneva System and in 1783, would leave watch-making behind and set up mass production under the new Schweppes brand.  These early waters were sold under the guise of medicinal remedies, needless to say the true effects only aided in hydrating patients, not healing them.  After his initial success in Switzerland, Schweppe moved his company to England in 1792 where he set up his first mass production factory in London at 141 Drury Lane.” Drinking Cup

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28 Pint Spirit

29 Pint Schweppes