Hires To You headerThe Illustrated History of Hires Root Beer



The U.S. Census recorded a population of 91,972,266.  Farm population continued to decline. 

Illiteracy dropped to 7.7% of the population.  Less than half of the people over 25 years of age had completed grade school and only 4% had earned a college degree.

Prohibition had been adopted by Maine, Kansas, North Dakota, Georgia, Oklahoma, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

The Boy Scouts of America and Camp Fire Girls were organized.

Congress passed the Mann Act prohibiting interstate or international transportation of women for immoral purposes.  The act grew out of public concern about white slavery, particularly the importing of European girls to work in American brothels.

Halley’s Comet passed within 13 million miles of the Earth on May 20, 1910.

Black boxer Jack Johnson defeated James J. Jeffries in a heavyweight match, sparking race riots across the United States.

Thomas Edison demonstrated talking motion pictures.

Electrical current for residences became the standard and the prices of electrical appliances steadily declined for the next several years.

Barney Oldfield set a new land speed record of 133 mph at Daytona Beach, Florida.

U.S. cigarette production and consumption overtook cigars for the first time.

Big business invested $600 million into advertising to stimulate consumer spending. 

Market research resulted in advertising increasingly targeted to specific audiences.

Hires prepared Form 2-250-M, a pocket-sized, four page Hires Offers 1910 brochure as part of their marketing program for 1910.  In addition to special offers for Hires Syrup, Hires steins were $2.00 per dozen, Hires glasses were 75¢ per dozen, Hires Syrup Dispensing Jars were $10.00, and Hires advertising included “attractive inside and outside store signs, window displays, etc., supplied to any dispenser of Hires upon request.”

(Figure 1910-01, Hires Offers 1910 brochure)

This Munimaker advertisement ran on facing pages in the Bulletin of Pharmacy:

(Figure 1910-02, Bulletin of Pharmacy, February 1910, page 8)

(Figure 1910-02, Bulletin of Pharmacy, February 1910, page 9)

The Munimaker was introduced in 1905, but the fountain head’s design wasn’t patented until 1910. 

(Figure 1910-03, United States Patent 40,558, granted March 1, 1910)

Hires also provided replacement Munimaker parts, evidence the Billing Department’s copy of a price list mailed to a storekeeper in 1910:

(Figure 1910-04, Hires’ Billing Department price list)

(Figure 1910-05, tin sign, 20.75” x 28.75”)

(Figure 1910-06, cardboard sign, 15.5” x 2.5”)

A small paper label marked “Manfield & Co. Makers – 158 Chambers St. – New York” is affixed to the back of this reverse-on-glass wall hanger.  It was hung by a metal chain identical to that used as a border. 

(Figure 1910-07, reverse-on-glass wall hanger, 7.0" x 8.0")

This rare tin tacker pre-dates the version reading “Say! Drink Hires 5¢” (Figure 1910-12).

(Figure 1910-08, tin tacker, Hires Family Archives)

This sign depicts the Hires Boy holding an amber, paper-labeled crown top bottle of Hires Root Beer.  This is the earliest known image showing the Hires Boy with a Hires bottle in his hand, rather than a Hires stein or mug. 

(Figure 1910-09, circular cardboard sign, 24.0” diameter)

This double-sided paper fan has a bamboo frame (broken) and handle.

(Figure 1910-10, paper fan, front)

(Figure 1910-10, paper fan, back)

Bastian Brothers of Rochester, New York produced this brass watch fob for Hires.  The front pictures the Hires Boy holding a stein.  The back is embossed “FOR DUPLICATE FOB SEND 15 CTS. IN STAMPS TO CHAS. E. HIRES CO., PHILA. PA.” with "BASTIAN BROS. ROCH. N.Y." in the center.  The leather strap is original.  (See Figure 1915-24)

(Figure 1910-11, brass watch fob, front)

(Figure 1910-11, brass watch fob, back)

(Figure 1910-12, heavy cardboard hanger)

(Figure 1910-13, tin tray, 12.0” diameter)

This one-of-a-kind prototype artwork was prepared during the process of developing the pictured cardboard Hires hanger that follows.  

(Figure 1910-14, hanger prototype, courtesy of Mike Godown)

(Figure 1910-15, cardboard hanger, front, 10.25” diameter, courtesy of Mike Godown)

(Figure 1910-15, cardboard hanger, 10.25” diameter, back, courtesy of Mike Godown)

(Figure 1910-15.5, The Providence (Rhode Island) Journal, July 6, 1910)

This tin tacker or hanger features the Hires Boy holding an amber, paper-labeled bottle of Hires.

(Figure 1910-16, tin tacker or hanger, 13.0” x 9.0”)

The paper-label affixed to this amber crown top bottle is the same style as the example the Hires Boy is holding on the previously pictured tin tacker or hanger.  The front of the bottle is embossed on the side near the base “Hires – REGISTERED – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.”  The back is embossed “Hires - TRADE MARK REGISTERED” around the shoulders of the bottle. 

(Figure 1910-17, amber crown top bottle with paper label)

To the left of the Hires Boy’s image on the paper label the white circle reads “BOTTLED UNDER AUTHORITY – THE CHARLES E. HIRES COMPANY – INCORPORATED SEPT'R 13, 1890.”  To the right of the Hires Boy’s image is a Hires crown cap (yellow and black with two stars) and the wording “NOT GENUINE UNLESS THIS CROWN IS ON BOTTLE.”  This paper label was produced for use by the Kessler Brewing Company in Helena, Montana.     

(Figure 1910-17, Kessler Brewing Co., Helena, Mont. paper label)

The amber crown top Hires Rootbeer bottle pictured on this sign bears a paper label utilized by the Joseph Roberts Bottling Works in Union City, Tennessee.

(Figure 1910-18, cardboard sign, 15.0” x 23.0”)

The Glenwood Spring Company in Augusta, Maine distributed advertising cards announcing the firm's acquisition of a Hires franchise.  Given the Hires Boy image and wording, the card appears to be circa 1910.  Hopefully further research will eventually confirm the exact date for their franchise appointment.

(Figure 1910-18.5, advertising card, 3.25” x 5.0”)

This image appeared in conjunction with a Hires article in a 1957 issue of National Bottler’s Gazette magazine.  Workers are sitting atop a horse-drawn wagon loaded with wooden cases of Hires Rootbeer outside the bottling plant in Philadelphia.  A canvas sign across the top of the wagon declares “Drink a Bottle of Hires - You’re sure its pure.”  The Model T parked behind the wagon and the building are also covered with Hires signage. 

(Figure 1910-19, Hires’ Philadelphia bottling plant, circa 1910)

This aqua bottle was originally produced for use with crown closures but later refitted with a Lightning stopper.  The original paper label is missing.  The base is embossed “Hires.” 

(Figure 1910-20, aqua crown top bottle, 9.5” tall)

This clear crown top bottle is embossed HIRES – REGISTERED – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED near the front base.  The original paper label is missing.

(Figure 1910-21, clear crown top bottle, 8.0” tall)

These aqua and amber crown top bottles are identically embossed Hires TRADE MARK REGISTERED around the shoulders.  Both are missing their original paper labels. 

(Figure 1910-22, aqua and amber crown top bottles, 8.0” tall)

This dark amber bottle is embossed “Hires” on the shoulder.  It has a small paper label patterned after the gold medals label used for full size bottles of Hires Root Beer.  The cork in the mouth may not be original to the bottle.  A small hole in the base suggests the bottle may have been produced for use as part of an advertising display.

(Figure 1910-23, bottle, 3.0” tall)

(Figure 1910-24, The Pharmaceutical Era magazine, August 1910)

Introduction of the Hires Munimaker, keg dispensers, and syrup jars significantly reduced the need for individual syrup bottles.  Soda fountain operators who didn’t opt to acquire dispensers or syrup jars continued to utilize syrup bottles.  This first flint glass example has a red-on-white label-under-glass and a nickel-plated cap.

(Figure 1910-25, syrup bottle, 11.0” tall with 3.0” base diameter)

This flint glass Hires syrup bottle has a black-on-white enameled label and nickel-plated cap.

(Figure 1910-26, syrup bottle, 12.0” tall with 3.0” base diameter)

Pocketknives were also a popular giveaway promotional advertising item.

(Figure 1910-27, pocketknife)

Hires introduced a “Nufrute” line of bottled products that included Vanilla Extract, Grape Juice, Orange, Grape, and Cream Soda.  This Grape Juice example contained 14 ounces. 

(Figure 1910-28, clear Nufrute Grape Juice bottle, 9.5” tall)

Here is an example of the clear, flared, etched, soda glasses referenced in the Hires Offers 1910 brochure (Figure 1910-01).  The etched syrup line on the side near the base was used by soda jerks as a measuring guide for adding the correct quantity of syrup when mixing Hires Root Beer drinks by the glass.

(Figure 1910-29, etched soda glass, 4.875” tall, 3.25” mouth)

"Hires Offer No. 1" included six etched glasses that were packaged and shipped in a cardboard box labeled "Form A-47-B."  Several of the pictured glasses still contain the original, wadded up paper used as cushioning during shipping.  In addition to being included for free with special offers, the glasses were also sold outright for 75¢ per dozen.

(Figure 1910-29, six etched soda glasses with shipping carton)

This postcard pictures Haverford Avenue in Narberth, Pennsylvania.  Fielder’s Drug Store, in the right foreground, displayed a “Drink Hires Root Beer” sign on the corner near their front entrance.

(Figure 1910-30, penny postcard, 3.5” x 5.0”)

(Figure 1910-31, cardboard hanger, 4.0” x 8.0”)

(Figure 1910-32, reverse-on-glass hanging sign, beveled edges, 6.0” x 4.0”)

(Figure 1910-33, paper sign, 6.0” x 24.0”)

(Figure 1910-34, die-cut, cardboard sign, 9.0” x 6.0”)

(Figure 1910-35, paper sign, 8.0” x 20.0”)

Here’s a portion of a very rare Hires paper sign featuring two roller skating bears.

 (Figure 1910-36, paper sign, Hires Family Archives)

This notice was published in the October 13, 1910 issue of N.A.R.D. Notes – The Journal of the National Association of Retail Druggists:


Mrs. Clara K. Hires, wife of Charles E. Hires, president of the Charles E. Hires Co., of Philadelphia, died October 6, at the family residence, Buck Lane, Haverford, Pa.  Mrs. Hires was 53 (sic) years of age and a widely known and devout member of the Society of Friends.  She was a liberal contributor to the benevolences of the society as well as to private charities.  She leaves a husband and five children.  The funeral took place on the following Sunday and was conducted in accordance with the Quaker rites.

Hires Household Ginger Ale Extract bottles were packaged in these cartons.

(Figure 1910-37, Hires Ginger Ale Extract carton)

Bottles of Hires Household Rootbeer Extract were packaged in these cartons.

(Figure 1910-38, Hires Rootbeer Extract carton)

(Figure 1910-39, Hires Household Extract bottle, clear)

(Figure 1910-40, Hires Household Extract bottle, green)

(Figure 1910-41, Hires Household Extract bottle, light blue)

(Figure 1910-41.5, Hires Household Extract bottle, cobalt blue)

(Figure 1910-42, Hires Rootbeer bottle, aqua)