Hires To You headerThe Illustrated History of Hires Root Beer



Winter cold, summer heat, a Midwest drought, and dust storms drove many farmers to migrate to California.  The Federal Farm Bankruptcy Act put a moratorium on farm mortgage foreclosures.

Newly introduced products and inventions included nylon, semi-automatic rifles, the Hammond organ, Seagram’s 7 Whiskey, and canned beer.

Pepsi-Cola introduced 12 ounce bottles, advertising them as “Twice as much for a nickel!” 

The use of Applied Color Labels on soft drink bottles was introduced.

6,460 U.S. soft drink bottling plants were in operation.  Per capita consumption was 31.9 bottles.

Mailing in this advertisement’s coupon brought the sender a sample of Hires Extract, plus a Hires Magic Story booklet.

(Figure 1934-01, Sunday newspapers, June 10, 1934)

The 12 page Hires Magic Story booklet was designed to draw children’s attention and promote Hires extracts.  The illustrated story featured “White Birch,” an Indian girl, a “little English boy called ‘Ginger,’” and “’Rooty, a healthy, happy boy of today who is playing baseball in the ‘City of Brotherly Love…After the game ‘Rooty’ always brought the ‘gang’ around to the house for a drink of Hires R-J Root Beer…Rooty’s mother always had a supply…in the ice box.”  Each page’s magic words could be revealed by rubbing “the lower part of each page with a coin, spoon or pencil.” 

(Figure 1934-02, Hires Magic Story booklet, 12 pages, front cover, 4.0” x 7.0”)

J. Edgar Hires’ name appeared in Philadelphia’s Public Ledger in the summer of 1934:


J. Edgar Hires Slated to Succeed Himself as Commodore

Ocean City, Aug. 11.  J. Edgar Hires, of Philadelphia, was nominated tonight to succeed himself as commodore of the Ocean City Yacht Club at the annual election to be held August 26.  He was unopposed.