I’m often asked questions about
Q: A collector friend of mine told me about a prized festoon he bought at an auction. I’d never heard of a festoon. What is it?
A: Festoons are cardboard cutout display pieces used to decorate the back-bars of soda fountains, usually positioned above and around the mirrors.
Beginning in the early 1900s, festoons were considered an integral part of the soda fountain's decorative scheme. Changing at least once each quarter, festoons continued to be used until the early 1960s. They often featured elaborate floral patterns,
In creating the festoons, The
Originally produced in quantities of more than 50,000 – with a cost of approximately $1.00 each -- most festoons were discarded after their three-month use at the fountains. Those that remain in existence are prized collectibles.
Q: I found an old
A: In 1947, The
The red disc metal signs came in a range of sizes, including 12 inches, 16 inches, 2 feet, 3 feet and 4 feet in diameter. In addition to the red disc signs, a bottle disc was introduced in 1947 that highlighted the bottle against a white background.
The Company felt the circular design, while simple, delivered a powerful advertising message. The discs also were flexible and could be used alone or in combination with a larger advertising scheme.
In 1951, the contour bottle was introduced as a design element on the red discs. It was originally suggested that
Q: I saw a movie set around 1900, and the
A: What you saw was a syrup urn, used for over a decade to serve
In 1896, The
The urns dispensed the syrup through a faucet placed beneath the bowl. The urns were ornaments for the soda fountain and were elaborately designed, reflecting late Victorian motifs.
The offer for the porcelain dispensers generally covered a period of about 10 years -- from 1896 to the turn of the last century. The urns were later replaced by more sophisticated and modern dispensing equipment. One reason these urns were phased out was that they were quite perishable. Because of this, only a few of the original porcelain units have survived to this day. Those that have are considered very collectible and quite valuable. According to Petretti’s
Q: I recently saw a Coke can with a raised top – unlike the shape of any cans we see today. Was it real?
Phil Mooney is the director of the Archives Department.