Vintage Soda Fountain

It doesn't get better than a scratch made classic from our famous soda fountain

Order Online Providence Order Online Wakefield

The Soda Fountain

Generations ago, pharmacists would mix up tonics to help ease their patients' ailments. The soda fountain would go on to become a fixture in many American drugstores.

That legacy lives on today at Green Line Apothecary where our authentic soda fountain serves made-to-order soda, ice cream, shakes, floats, coffee & tea, as well as classics like phosphates, lime rickeys & egg creams.

Our restored 1940's soda fountain serves only all-natural or organic ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible.

CLICK THROUGH TO LEARN MORE ABOUT our soda fountain’s rich history!

Naturally Carbonated Water

For hundreds of years civilizations have prized naturally carbonated waters, typically found from volcanic springs. They have long been hailed as a natural tonic that could sooth upset stomachs and were once regularly prescribed by physicians for indigestion.

The believed medicinal properties of carbonated water lead many to research how to produce it "artificially" to help make it more widely available.*

Citation: History of the Soda Fountain by Stephanie Armijo

Joseph Priestly & Carbonated Water

In 1767, English chemist Joseph Priestly was the first to "artificially" carbonate water. He began by capturing CO2 from fermentation tanks at a local brewery and later learned that he could create C02 by dripping sulfuric acid into calcium carbonate. He then infused the gas into the water. The reaction lead to "carbonated water".*

Citation: History of the Soda Fountain by Stephanie Armijo

The first "soda fountain"

In 1819 Samuel Fahnestock was granted a U.S. Patent for the first registered soda fountain which he referred to as a "mineral water apparatus".

His invention pumped carbonated water from spigot. The barrel-shaped body of his device was designed so it could be concealed and hidden under a counter.*

*Citation: Suiter Swants IP

John Matthews, "The Soda Fountain King"

In 1832 Englishman John Matthews moved to America to manufacture carbonating machinery and focused on selling them to drug stores and retail shops in New York City.

His machine was relatively simple. In consisted of a cast iron box where sulfuric acid and calcium carbonate were mixed to create CO2. The gas was essentially pumped into a tank with cold water where a factory worker would rock it back and forth until the water became carbonated with CO2. Salts were then added to help mimic natural mineral waters. With this increase in accessibility, demand for carbonated water began to rise.

Citation: John Matthews Father of the Soda Fountain by Donald Yates

Innovation from an unexpected source

In 1838, French perfumer Eugene Roussell had been selling plain soda water at his perfume shop in Philadelphia when he had the idea to flavor the water for his customers. His intuition payed off and the calls for flavored soda water grew exponentially.

Citation: John Matthews Father of the Soda Fountain by Donald Yates

Drugstores and Soda Fountains

With the invention of flavored "sodas" came a new tool in a drugstore's toolkit. Druggists could now add various medicines to this new flavored and effervescent beverage to make the medicines palatable. These concoctions quickly became commonplace and by the time prohibition went into effect, you'd be hard pressed to find a drugstore without a soda fountain.

Citation: Soderlund Drugstore Museum

Supply and demand grows

Between the mid-1800's and the early 1900's, competition grows and dozens of companies begin to innovate the soda fountain design, making them more efficient accessible for retail stores to own and operate.

Inventions like mechanical refrigeration propelled the fountain into the new age - priming the soda fountain experience for the disappearance of bars in the 1920's.

The Prohibition Years

The popularity of soda fountains exploded during prohibition. They helped fill the social void left by the closing of bars and quickly became a gathering spot for the public.

Bars became soda fountains and bartenders became soda jerks.

The 1940's and 50's

The classic American soda fountain really reached its peak in the 1940's and 50's. They could be found just about anywhere including pharmacies, ice cream parlors, candy stores, dime stores, department stores, and train stations. Most expanded to include lunch counters, ice cream, milkshake mixers, and more.

The Decline

Come the late 1950's and early 1960's, self-service drug stores, drive-in restaurants, soda vending machines, and pre-packed soft drinks all contributed to the demise of the classic soda fountain. By the 1970's, they were simply viewed as a thing of the past.

Preserving the history

Today, we carry on the rich legacy of the drugstore soda fountain at Green Line Apothecary. We serve made-to-order soda, ice cream, shakes, floats, COFFEE & TEA, AS WELL AS CLASSICS LIKE PHOSPHATES, LIME RICKEYS & EGG CREAMS from our fully restored 1940's soda fountain.

We hope that'll you'll visit us at one of our locations to experience it for yourself!

Soda & Floats
Ice Cream
all-natural & made-to-order the old fashioned way
  • Cola

  • Diet Cola

  • Cream

  • Ginger Ale

  • Grape

  • Orange

  • Root Beer

  • Caramel

  • Chocolate

  • Cherry

  • Coffee

  • Raspberry

  • Strawberry

  • Vanilla

Ice Cream
all-natural & scratch-made. Every flavor is available in both original and vegan.






hand-spun to order with your choice of ice cream
Lime Rickey
Egg Cream

What are you looking for?

Your cart