Hires To You headerThe Illustrated History of Hires Root Beer



War in Europe generated a U.S. business boom.  After Germany invaded Poland, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany, while Belgium and the U.S. remained neutral.

The Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco and the New York City World’s Fair attracted millions of visitors who marveled at wonders of the future.

Newly introduced products and inventions included nylon stockings, air-conditioned cars, DDT pesticide, fluorescent lights, turbo-jet airplanes, Pocket Books paperbacks, and Lay’s potato chips.

Approximately 25% of the soft drink industry was using 12 ounce bottles.  Coca-Cola bottlers used 70 million cardboard six-pack carriers.

Multi-flavor soft drink automatic vending machines were introduced.

6,155 U.S. soft drink bottling plants were in operation.  Per capita consumption was 88.6 bottles.

The word Hires extends slightly into the outside circle on this tin sign.

(Figure 1939-01, tin sign, 12.0” diameter)

The same logo was used for the Finished Fountain Syrup paper label affixed to this clear, one gallon jar.

(Figure 1939-01.5 Finished Fountain Syrup one gallon jar, 11.0” x 5.0")

(Figure 1939-01.5 Finished Fountain Syrup one gallon jar lid)

This sign was produced while the Hires R-J logo was being modified.  The paper neck and body labels on the bottle bear Hires R-J logos with “Hires” fully inside the circle, while Hires on the sign’s large logo extends outside the circle.  The bottle and large logo still read “FOR REAL-JUICES” instead of “WITH REAL ROOT JUICES.”

(Figure 1939-02, embossed tin sign, repaired)

Here's a different and considerably larger version of the previous sign.  This one measures 30.0" x 40.0" and has rolled edges.

(Figure 1939-02.3, embossed tin sign)

Here is another large tin sign produced during the time the Hires R-J logo was undergoing modification.  “Hires” extends outside the circle, while “FOR REAL-JUICES” was used instead of “WITH REAL ROOT JUICES.”

(Figure 1939-02.5, embossed tin sign, 29.0" x 47.0")

Numerous shipping cases bear mixed versions of Hires R-J Root Beer logos. 

(Figure 1939-03, wooden case with dovetailed corners)

This case was made for Witwer Grocer Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa:

(Figure 1939-04, wooden case for two dozen 12 ounce bottles)

Here’s a wooden case correctly marked with the revised Hires R-J logo.

(Figure 1939-05, wooden case)

This five gallon Hires R-J Root Beer fountain syrup case has notched handles.

(Figure 1939-06, wooden, five gallon syrup case, 16.0” x 11.0” x 11.0”)

The end panels of this olive drab, one gallon, Finished Syrup tin include dispensing directions for Hires Root Beer Plain, Black Cow, Ice Cream Soda, Milk Shake, Malted Milk, Sunday, Frappe, and Hot Milk drinks.

(Figure 1939-07, Finished Syrup tin, one gallon capacity)

Two versions of Hires R-J Root Beer Finished Syrup one gallon tins with white painted surfaces were produced.  The top has been removed from this first example that pictures an etched glass full of Hires Root Beer.

(Figure 1939-08, Finished Syrup tin, one gallon capacity, front)

This second example does not include the etched glass illustration.  The front and back are identical.

(Figure 1939-08, Finished Syrup tin, one gallon capacity, front and back)

(Figure 1939-08, Finished Syrup tin, one gallon capacity, top)

The clear, one gallon jars used in 1938 (see Figure 1938-21.5) for distributing Hires Concentrate continued to be utilized in 1939, with the foil labels updated with the new logo and slightly different wording.  A portion of the bottom of the label on the illustrated jar has been damaged.

(Figure 1939-08.5 gallon Concentrate jar)

(Figure 1939-09, tin sign with mirror, 11.0” x 3.5”)

This lithographed, double-sided cardboard sign was produced for displaying at Woolworth lunch counters.  Both sides are identical.

(Figure 1939-09.5, cardboard sign, 14.0” x 11.0”)

The Selmix Dispenser Corporation of St. Paul, Minnesota produced this counter top syrup dispenser for Hires.  Both sides bear identical metal Hires R-J Root Beer With Real Root Juices signs.

(Figure 1939-10, Selmix counter top dispenser)

“Hires” extends outside the circle on the foil labels affixed to the bottles illustrated on these two posters.

(Figure 1939-11, paper poster, 58.0” x 34.0”)

(Figure 1939-12, cardboard poster, 16.0” x 25.0”)

(Figure 1939-12.5, cardboard sign, 16.0” x 11.0”)

(Figure 1939-13, lithographed, cardboard bottle topper, 4.0” x 6.5”)

The hanger has been trimmed off this cardboard bottle topper.

(Figure 1939-14, die-cut, cardboard bottle topper, 3.875” x 3.75”)

“Agreeable” replaced “good” on this bottle topper with a table tennis theme.

(Figure 1939-15, die-cut, cardboard bottle topper)

(Figure 1939-16, die-cut, cardboard bottle topper, 10.0” x 12.0”)

The Donaldson Art Sign Company in Covington, Kentucky produced this tin sign for Hires.  The background surface has a brushed metal appearance and the edges are rounded.  Hires assigned it item number FA-2.

(Figure 1939-16.5, tin sign, 6.0” x 8.5”)

This attractive model’s image was used frequently for Hires signage during 1939. 

(Figure 1939-17, cardboard poster)

Snyder and Black Lithographers in New York City produced this 34.0" x 57.75" poster.

(Figure 1939-18, cardboard poster)

This poster was distributed in Quebec, Canada.  The French translates to “It is so good with food.”

(Figure 1939-19, cardboard poster, 28.0” x 16.0”)

(Figure 1939-20, die-cut, cardboard sign)

Both of these die-cut, cardboard hangers are 12.0" in diameter:

(Figure 1939-21, die-cut, cardboard hanger)

(Figure 1939-22, die-cut, cardboard hanger, courtesy of Mike Godown)

(Figure 1939-23, die-cut, cardboard hanger, 9.0” x 11.0”, courtesy of Mike Godown)

(Figure 1939-24, die-cut, cardboard topper, 9.0” x 12.5”)

(Figure 1939-24.5, blank paper menu sheet, 8.5” x 5.5”)

Here's the same menu sheet when beverages were included with lunch or dinner.

(Figure 1939-24.6, blank paper menu sheet, 8.5” x 5.5”)

All four sides of this 10.75" tall, 4.0" square, cardboard straw box picture a crown top bottle with foil labels and an inserted straw.  Note, however, that each side bears a different Hires slogan.  The Maryland Paper Products Co. labeling at the bottom of each side panel is also printed on the top, while the bottom is blank.  

(Figure 1939-24.8, cardboard straw box, front and right sides)

(Figure 1939-24.8, cardboard straw box, back and left sides)

Philadelphia’s Bingham Company published football booklets for Hires in 1939, 1940, and 1941.  The 1939 Football Book includes schedules for U.S. colleges, game opponents and 1938 scores.  The advertising copy and illustrations featured a football theme, such as “Hires is ‘varsity’…the insignia R-J (meaning real Root Juices) in the trade-mark enables you to ‘spot’ Hires at any game – assures you ‘tops’ in thirst quenching performance.  SO GOOD WITH FOOD…it’s NON-ACID.”

(Figure 1939-25, 1939 Football Book, 42 pages, 3.25” x 5.25”, front cover)

(Figure 1939-25, 1939 Football Book, 42 pages, 3.25” x 5.25”, back cover)

Although Hires ceased promotion of Household Extract in 1936, they continued to produce and distribute it, including updating the packaging.  Just like Hires' signage and shipping cases, Household Extract packaging shows the effects of the continually evolving Hires R-J logo.  This example of a Household Extract shipment bears three different R-J logos.

The cardboard shipping carton features a logo with Hires inside the circle and FOR REAL-JUICES wording.

(Figure 1939-26, Household Extract cardboard shipping carton)

Inside the shipping carton was this display case containing 12 individual cartons of Hires Household Extract (compare with Figure 1931-03).  The logo on the lid has Hires inside the circle and WITH REAL ROOT JUICES wording, while the logo on the front of the case has Hires outside the circle. 

(Figure 1939-26, Household Extract cardboard display case, lid and front)

The right end of the display case has no logo, just the "IT TASTES SO GOOD IT'S GOOD FOR YOU" wording.  The left end of the display case (not pictured) has a same logo as the lid, with "DELICIOUS WHOLESOME" wording.

(Figure 1939-26, Household Extract cardboard display case, lid and front)

The dozen Household Extract cartons contained in the display case featured the latest logo with Hires outside the circle and WITH REAL ROOT JUICES wording.

(Figure 1939-26, Household Extract carton)

A quarter gross (36) individual packages of Hires Household Extract were shipped in cardboard cartons measuring 12.0" wide, 11.6" high, and 6.0" deep.     

(Figure 1939-26.5, Household Extract shipping carton, side and top)

These cartons were made by The Mengel Company, Inc., New Brunswick, New Jersey.

(Figure 1939-26.5, Household Extract shipping carton, end and top)

The bottom of this carton was marked for shipment to the Willamette Grocery Company in Salem, Oregon.  .

(Figure 1939-26.5, Household Extract shipping carton, bottom)

This hard plastic clock was manufactured by Westclox in Peru, Illinois.

(Figure 1939-27, electric wall clock, 7.0” diameter)

(Figure 1939-28, cardboard bottle hanger, front)

(Figure 1939-28, cardboard bottle hanger, back)

The hanger illustrated as Figure 1939-28 would have been hung around the neck of one of the bottles contained in this heavy cardboard six-pack carrier that held six 12 ounce bottles.  The pictured example has suffered the effects of usage and yellowed with age.     

(Figure 1939-29, cardboard six-pack carrier)

The original eraser and end cap are missing from this circa-1939 mechanical pencil.  The front is marked "DRINK HIRES (R-J) ROOT BEER / CLIFFORD R. CLARK. SALES MANAGER," while the back is unmarked.

(Figure 1939-30, mechanical pencil, front and back)

The Charles E. Hires Company-owned bottling plant in Houston, Texas opened in October, 1939.