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Dr. Pepper

10-2-4 Dr Pepper Embossed bottle Dr Pepper 8oz Racing Season 1998 Dr Pepper Celebrates 101 Dalmations bottle D P SODA Dr Pepper Bottling Mvc-001f.jpg (12660 bytes)

Since 1895

       Charles C. Alderton worked as a pharmacist for W. B. Morrison in Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas.  In 1885, he invented a new drink formula which became very popular with Morrison's customers.  Morrison bought the formula from the young man and named it "Dr. Pepper", possibly after Dr. Charles Pepper, a former employer of Morrison's in Virginia.  Morrison then sold the formula to Robert S. Lazenby.
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Circle A Sparkling Beverages
Dr Pepper Bottling Co
Sacramento, California
Circle A Sparkling
Circle A Sparkling Beverages
"Since 1903"
9oz, G-939, '58
Circle A Brand Beverages
Dr. Pepper Bottling Co
7oz, Coeburn, VA
Circle A Brand
Charlotte, NC

     Lazenby, also a beverage chemist, had founded the Circle "A" Bottling Company in 1884 to bottle his invention, Circle A Ginger Ale.  He added "Dr. Pepper's Phos-Ferrates" to the line as early as 1885 and incorporated the firm as the Artesian Manufacturing & Bottling Works in 1891 with Lazenby and Morrison among the original eight stockholders.  Early on, the words " Phos-Ferrates" were dropped and the product became known simply as "Dr. Pepper".  The corporation renamed the firm The Dr. Pepper Company in 1902 to reflect the growing sales and popularity of the drink.  The Artesian Manufacturing & Bottling Company, however, remained the parent company.  The original corporation declared bankruptcy in 1923, and new financial backers reincorporated the Dr. Pepper Company under Colorado law in Dallas, Texas.  In 1940, the corporation disbanded Circle A Ginger Ale to concentrate on Dr. Pepper exclusively.

     Dr. Pepper has had several distinctive changes in trademarks.  Around  1905, the term "Phos-Ferrates" was dropped in favor of a Dr. Pepper logo with a tail sweeping back from the final "r" enclosing the words, "King of Beverages".  The company changed the lettering style in 1913 and included the words, "Liquid Sunshine".  Following the 1923 reorganization, Dr. Pepper bottles were standardized for the first time and replaced the old slogans with "Good for Life" in the tail.  Four years later (1926), the company added the venerable 10-2-4 clock.  During World War II, Dr. Pepper was advertised as a good between-meal snack, using expressions such as the "liquid bite" or "Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2 and 4 o'clock."  A major change appeared in 1950 with the use of slanted block (italicized) letters which involved dropping the period after the "r" in Dr.  The company introduced bounce letters (the third "p" was "bounced" up slightly) in 1958 and later changed to a broader-based italicized typestyle.

dptray.jpg (158879 bytes)     In 1981, Dr Pepper branched out with the purchase of the soft drink division of Welch Foods Company including the popular Welch's Grape Juice.  The acquisition of the Canada Dry Corporation followed in 1982.  A final, major uniting occurred in 1988 when Dr Pepper and Seven Up merged to form Dr Pepper/Seven-Up Companies, Inc.  The final purchase occurred in 1995 when Cadbury Beverages acquired Dr Pepper/Seven-Up.

     The Dr. Pepper Company has given the collector a wealth of interesting items to collect. A number of early serving trays and at least eight different Vienna Art Plates were produced. Early syrup urns and dispensers are rare, as are syrup bottles. A wide range of embossed bottles are very collectible, with paper label bottles being very rare. Briefly (1954-55), Dr Pepper used a transition bottle with a clock face in red and white ACL on the bottle neck.  The rest of the bottle contained debossed advertising.  These bottles are extremely rare.  In June, 1955, the company introduced the first bottles entirely decorated with enameled labels.  These Georgia Green containers showed a white bottle cap on both shoulder and body front.  A red slanted bar stretched across the cap with the words Dr Pepper in white slanted block letters and under the third "P."  Above the bar was printed 10 drink 2 in red, with 4 below the bar.  These bottles were used between 1955 and 1960 but, like their predecessor, are extremely rare and may never have actually seen use. The mid 50s brought a 6.5oz and 10oz cone top can as well as a 12oz flat top can.

  • First: Dr Pepper. 6ox."Good for Life" "10-2-4" Embossed. Marion VA.
  • Second: Dr Pepper. 8oz. 50 Dr Pepper Racing. Inaugural Season 1998.
  • Third: Dr Pepper. 8oz "Celebrates 101 Dalmatians"
  • Fourth: DP SODA. Embossed. Dr. Pepper Bottling Co. Coeburn VA.
  • Fifth: D P B C bottle. 6.5oz Dr Pepper Bottling Company, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Middle: Different Circle A ACL bottles, with their descriptions.
  • Bottom Left: Dr. Pepper change tray, one of a set of four animals. 
    <Click to enlarge>

Not Pictured: Dr Pepper. 8oz. XII Championship Alamo Dome San Antonio TX Dec 6 1997
Not Pictured: Dr Pepper. 8oz. "Cherokee Strip Stampede PRCA Rodeo" 4th Anniversary Sept 1994 Enid OK
Not Pictured: Dr Pepper. 8oz. "Imperial Sugar" Dr Pepper Since 1901 (?) Dublin TX

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Dr. Pepper
6oz ND/NR
"1505"; "1566"

Right: Embossed bottles, as described above.

Dr Pepper embossed bottle

Date Description
1891 ca. 1907 Blob-top, round bottom, embossed.
1900-1910 Crown finish, round bottom.
1907-1912 Crown finish, machine-made, "King of Beverages", also "Thief" bottle 
1923-1924 Crown finish, colorless, embossed, "Good for Life", three-handed clock
ca. 1930 Colorless, debossed, "Good for Life", three-handed clock
1950 Georgia green, debossed, slant blocked letters, no 'period' after "Dr" and no hands on clock
1954-1955 Same, with ACL clock face on neck of bottle
1955 ACL,  bottle cap design, slant block letters
1955 ACL, clock design, no bottle cap design, slant block letters
1960-1961 ACL, bounced lettering with third "P" bounced up
1971 ACL, broad block letters in oval, no clock

Dr Pepper Museum, Waco, Texas

See Also: 
Official Dr. Pepper Page

Dr. Pepper Recipes 
(from the Doctor himself)

Dr. Pepper Australia

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