Tidbit Tuesday: Language of the Soda Fountain

Aw yis. You know what day it is.

tibit tuesday(source)

If you’re a normal human being, you love ice cream. If you’re not a normal human being, then you may be an alien. If you’re a nostalgic human being, you love the idea of the Soda Fountain.

soda fountain

It’s a soda jerk. Haven’t you always wondered why he’s called a jerk?


The first Soda Fountain shows up in the 1820s, but didn’t gain popularity until one made a guest appearance at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. They didn’t reach full steam until 1919 when prohibition made life a whole lot more boring. With nothing to drink but milkshakes, the explosion of the soda fountain culture spawned a new food language.

1876 Philadelphia Centennial soda fountain

Mammoth Soda Fountain at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. There were a few other fountains there, including Tuft’s.


Soda fountain lingo developed because orders were placed without the use of tickets or computers (unless there were androids which is entirely possible). It needed to be clear and concise because the intense and busy environment didn’t leave much time for deciphering orders. They also needed to be memorable so something like “dog and maggot” wasn’t uncommon.

Here’s some of my favorite soda fountain language.

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