Hires To You headerThe Illustrated History of Hires Root Beer



The Supreme Court upheld the federal law prohibiting employment of children under 16 in mining and manufacturing, and children under 18 in any dangerous occupation.

Religious training in public schools was declared unconstitutional.

Germany invaded Russia and it appeared the U.S.S.R. might fall by year end.

On December 7th Japanese forces simultaneously attacked Pearl Harbor, Guam, Wake Island, the Philippines, and other strategic points in the Pacific Ocean.  Americans were outraged and Congress declared war against Japan the next day.  Three days later Germany and Italy declared war against the U.S.  American industry immediately geared up for full-scale war production.  The government prepared to curb prices and limit production, with civilians convinced these restrictions were the price of winning the war.

The Office of Price Administration was created to manage war time rationing.

Federal tax increases were imposed as a wartime revenue measure.  Although the industry was threatened, soft drink taxes were not enacted.

Yankee center fielder Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 56 consecutive games.

Grand Coulee Dam, the largest hydroelectric plant in the world, went into operation.

Mount Rushmore was completed after 14 years of work.

Bob Hope broadcast his first USO radio show.

Commercial television broadcasting began in the U.S. at NBC’s New York station.

The movie Citizen Kane, directed by and starring Orson Welles, premiered in New York City.

Glenn Miller and His Orchestra recorded “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” the first gold record.

Newly introduced products and inventions included Dacron, Teflon, electric blankets, and Cheerios breakfast cereal. 

The soft drink industry faced shortages of sugar, cork, tin, and cardboard. 

6,309 U.S. soft drink bottling plants were in operation.  Per capita consumption was 133.6 bottles.

This folding, paper “Hires Book Mark and Reader’s Data Sheet” was copyrighted in 1941 by The Bingham Company in Philadelphia, and published by the Charles E. Hires Company.  These book marks were apparently produced for promotional distribution thru schools and libraries.

(Figure 1941-01, Hires Book Mark and Reader’s Data Sheet, back and front)

(Figure 1941-01, Hires Book Mark and Reader’s Data Sheet)

These three magazine advertisements ran during the spring and summer of 1941.

(Figure 1941-02, magazine advertisement)

(Figure 1941-03, magazine advertisement)

(Figure 1941-04, magazine advertisement)

These five advertisements ran in the Baltimore Sun newspaper during May, 1941.

(Figure 1941-05, Baltimore Sun newspaper advertisements, May 1941)

(Figure 1941-06, Life, May 26, 1941)

(Figure 1941-07, magazine advertisement, July 1941)

(Figure 1941-08, magazine advertisement, July 1941)

(Figure 1941-09, embossed tin sign with blackboard, 15.0” x 29.5”)

(Figure 1941-10, Life, October 13, 1941)

(Figure 1941-11, tin door pusher, item # 559-W, 11.5” x 3.5”)

These three colorful, die-cut, cardboard bottle toppers each feature flower images.

(Figure 1941-12, die-cut, cardboard bottle topper)

(Figure 1941-13, die-cut, cardboard bottle topper)

(Figure 1941-14, die-cut, cardboard bottle topper, 5.0” x 7.0”)

Hires’ 1941 Football Schedules booklet contains 40 pages listing game schedules for 262 intercollegiate teams, each team’s 1940 scores, and space for users to log 1941 game results.  In addition, the National Football League’s 1941 schedule was included. 

(Figure 1941-15, 1941 Football Schedules, front cover)

(Figure 1941-15, 1941 Football Schedules, inside front cover)

(Figure 1941-15, 1941 Football Schedules, centerfold)

(Figure 1941-15, 1941 Football Schedules, inside back cover)

(Figure 1941-15, 1941 Football Schedules, back cover)

This series of small advertisements ran in the Baltimore Sun newspaper during late 1941:

(Figure 1941-16, Baltimore Sun newspaper advertisements, late 1941)

(Figure 1941-17, Life, December 8, 1941)

A slide opened and closed this six-pack carrier.  Note the “With Real Root Juices” wording is separate from the Hires R-J logos.

(Figure 1941-18, Masonite six-pack carrier, top, 8.0” x 5.625”)

(Figure 1941-18, Masonite six-pack carrier, bottom, 8.0” x 5.625”)

By late 1941, the U.S. soft drink industry was increasingly experiencing the effects of a wartime economy.  Much of the cork used to line crown caps was imported from Portugal and North Africa, and in short supply due to limited trans-Atlantic shipping.  Likewise, bottling machinery and spare parts became increasingly scarce as war material manufacturing took precedent.