Today we take soda for granted, but the early history of the popular carbonated drink is filled with curiosities and fascinating trivia. For example, one of the reasons the early soda experience was so closely mated to pharmacies (most early soda shops were connected to or located within existing pharmacies) was not just because of the early medicinal use of carbonated water, but because the carbonated water was made on site—and that required the kind of safe material handling and chemistry knowledge pharmacists already had.
That wasn’t what kept people coming back to soda shops for decades, however, as carbonated water could have easily been made at factories instead of pharmacies. What kept people coming back was that bottle design and technology took ages to catch up with the soda craze and it just wasn’t possible for people to bring the soda home for later consumption in a safe or appealing manner—even if the bottle didn’t crack, it would quickly go flat.
It wasn’t until cheap and sturdy mass produced bottles coupled with an equally cheap and sturdy seal like the bottle cap came along, that the soda industry really took off as consumers could now buy soda anywhere, no soda jerk or pharmacist required, and they could take it home with them to enjoy whenever they wanted it.