Hires To You headerThe Illustrated History of Hires Root Beer

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: September 23, 2020

→ Submit questions via EMail to: HiresBook@yahoo.com

Q: Are printed copies of Hires to You! The Illustrated History of Hires Root Beer available?

A: No.  Please review the Home page comments explaining why we published to the Internet, making the material available for free to the public, rather than printing exorbitantly expensive books that few could afford.

Q: The print in several of the Hires advertisements is quite small.  Is there a way to enlarge an image in order to more easily read the text?

A: Yes.  Rest your cursor over any of the 2,000+ images and a pop-up message will appear suggesting you "Click to open a separate window displaying a larger image." 

A. Another option is to right click an image, choose "Copy Image," paste the copy into a word processing program (such as MS Word), and then adjust the size of the image as desired.

Q: Why aren't rarity ratings and dollar values of the pictured items listed?

A: HiresBook.com is a product history.  Rarity opinions and the tracking of dollar values have been left to those involved with the ever-evolving marketplace for advertising collectibles.

Q: How do we contact you to have a Hires item appraised?

A: We do not do appraisals.

Q: Do you buy Hires items or have any for sale or trade?

A: No.

Q: Did Hires invent root beer?

A: No; this is a myth.  Consolidated Foods owned the Hires brand from 1962-1980 and several times during those years their copywriters claimed "Hires invented root beer."  Charles Elmer Hires was highly successful at marketing and popularizing root beer, but he did not invent it.  The production and consumption of homemade root beer dates to at least the 1600s.

Q: When was Hires Root Beer first introduced to the public?

A: Although numerous sources claim Charles E. Hires demonstrated and either gave away or sold samples of Hires Root Beer at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, we believe this is a myth fabricated for marketing purposes.  There is no primary resource evidence Charles E. Hires exhibited at or had any involvement whatsoever with the 1876 Centennial Exhibition.  Multiple primary resources indicate Hires Root Beer was first introduced to the public in 1877.  See the 1876 and 1877 chapters for additional details.   

Q: Was Hires Root Beer originally called "Hires Root Tea?"

A: Several authors have repeated the story that Charles E. Hires changed his product's name from Root Tea to Root Beer at the behest of his friend, the Rev. Dr. Russell H. Conwell of Philadelphia.  Conwell supposedly suggested "Root Beer" would sound more appealing than "Root Tea" to the many potential coal miner customers in Pennsylvania.  While this may make for an entertaining story, there is no primary resource evidence this account is anything but marketing hype and it is yet another myth fueled by a lack of in-depth research.

Q: Why don't Subject Index entries include hot links directly to listed references?

A: The highly-detailed Subject Index is designed to guide users to information about specific topics.  Many topics evolved over multiple years, so the Subject Index entries often point readers to more than one year.     

Q: Will additional text and images be added to HiresBook.com? 

A: Yes.  Unlike paper books which are often outdated even before the printer's ink has dried, we will update and enhance HiresBook.com, including adding new and/or upgraded images.  

Q: I have several Hires items that aren't currently pictured on HiresBook.com.  Do you want to consider adding photos and descriptions of my items?

A:  Definitely!  Please EMail digital photos or scans to HiresBook@yahoo.com. 

Q: I read that Hires first start bottling Hires Root Beer in 1893.  Is that true?

A: No.  Numerous sources cite 1893 as the year Hires first starting bottling finished Hires Root Beer.  Unfortunately, this is yet another myth.  Hires established the Crystal Bottling Company and was bottling and distributing quarts and pints of Hires' Improved Root Beer as early as mid-June, 1889.  See the 1889 chapter for additional details!

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