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Now and Then: The History of Soda

Soda hasn’t been around that long — in fact carbonated drinks weren’t invented until 1767. Joseph Priestly was the man who figured out how to infuse water with Co2, by hanging a bowl of water over a tub of fermenting beer. People used to think that mineral spring water cured health problems so they tried to replicate it with carbonated water — this is why soda was sold at pharmacies as medicine.

The first soda machine was patented in 1819 — and the guy working behind the counter was known as a soda jerk. In 1876, root beer started to be sold to the public — and was flavored with more than 25 herbs berries and roots.

The first cola-flavored soda was sold in 1881 and Dr. Pepper was invented four years later. Coca-Cola was invented shorty after that — and was actually made with a small amount of cocaine. Cocaine stayed in the recipe until 1928.

After years of being a health drink, soda finally got called out in 1942 by the American Medical Association for having tons of sugar. As a response to that, diet sodas were created, paving the way for diet coke addictions everywhere. In the present day, studies have linked sodas to weight gain so people are trying to curve their consumption — and since soda sales are declining, their efforts seem to be working.