Hires To You headerThe Illustrated History of Hires Root Beer



Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Utah voted in Prohibition, making it the law in 24 states with a total population of about 32,500,000.

Trade within the U.S. and with foreign countries reached all-time high levels.

The automobile industry was on track to become the U.S. economy’s largest single manufacturing segment as auto and truck production exceeded 1,000,000 units.  There were more than 3.5 million cars on the road in the U.S.  The average cost of a new car was $600.  Ford’s Model T sold for $360 and half a million were produced during 1916.  Ford awarded equal pay to women. 

Woodrow Wilson defeated Charles Evans Hughes, a former Supreme Court Justice and was reelected President of the United States.

The federal estate tax was signed into law.

Margaret Higgins Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. 

Pancho Villa led an attack by Mexican raiders on Columbus, New Mexico, looting and burning the town, and killing 18 U.S. soldiers and civilians. 

In the second (and first annual) Tournament of Roses Association football game, the Washington State College Cougars defeated the Brown University Bruins 14-0. 

The first Piggly Wiggly grocery store opened, introducing self-service to retailing. 

A Norman Rockwell painting was featured on a Saturday Evening Post cover for the first time.

Newly introduced products included stainless steel, sheetrock, and Lincoln Logs.

Orange Crush and Whistle were introduced as new franchised soft drinks.

The King’s Nectar – A Legend is a 12 page booklet promoting Hires Rootbeer.  In addition to an illustrated poem designed to entertain children, the advertising copy includes two inconsistent references to Hires’ founding; one claims “For 40 years,” while the other states “nearly 40 years.”  The center pages feature a nicely illustrated advertisement for Hires’ Expansion Bottle Stoppers.  The 12 roots, barks, and herbs used in the preparation of Hires Rootbeer are listed as Honduras Sarsaparilla, Ginger, Sassafras, Hops, Pipsissewa, Spikenard, Birch Bark, Vanilla, Triticum Repens, Wintergreen, Juniper Berries, and Caramel.

(Figure 1916-01, The King’s Nectar – A Legend)

This 31.5" x 15.5" paper, roll-down poster features an attractive young woman drawn by William Henry “Haskell” Coffin, a noted painter and commercial artist particularly known for his pastel portraits.  Coffin’s illustrations, particularly of women, graced the covers of leading U.S. magazines for many years.  This poster highlights the 12 herbs, roots, berries, and bark ingredients used for preparing Hires Rootbeer.  1916 was the last year when 12 ingredients were listed; in 1917 the advertised list was expanded to 16 ingredients. 

(Figure 1916-02, paper poster, courtesy of Mike Godown)

The artwork used to illustrate the cover of a Hires Harvest Budget booklet represents the origins of Hires’ 12 ingredients. 

(Figure 1916-03, Hires Harvest Budget cover)

The International Transparency Company in Cleveland, Ohio manufactured this decal.

(Figure 1916-04, decal, 12.0” x 15.0”)

(Figure 1916-05, paper sign, 13.0” x 23.0”)

(Figure 1916-05.5, reverse on glass sign, 9.0” x 6.0”)

This pottery mug is date stamped 16 on the base.

(Figure 1916-06, pottery mug, front, 4.5” tall, 3.625” base diameter)

(Figure 1916-06, pottery mug, base, 4.5” tall, 3.625” base diameter)