Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hires, Charles Elmer (August 19,1851 – July 31, 1937)

Ten years before Coca-Cola’s inventions in 1886, Charles E. Hires began manufacturing his root beer syrup. He was born on a farm near Roadstover, New Jersey son of John Dane Hires and Mary Williams.

At sixteen he went to Philadelphia, arriving with fifty cents in his pocket. He found employment with a physician druggist.

In 1875, while he and his wife vacationing in New Jersey, the landlady of a boarding house where they had stopped served them a drink which she had compounded of sassafras bark and herbs. He tasted the one of the superb family recipes.

When he returned to Philadelphia, he experimented with the idea of sassafras and other ingredients and finally produced Hires Root Beer.

Originally intended for the domestic market, the Hires Company quickly made its syrup available to drug stores in a distinctive ‘log cabin’ style fountain dispenser.

He introduced his root beer at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition as ‘the Greatest Health-Giving Beverage in the World’.

In 1884, Hires began producing a liquid extract and a concentrate for use at soda fountains. In the 1890s, Hires began packaging root beer in small bottles which were promoted as a convenience for people on the go.

Hires was also a pioneer in the production of condensed milk. Beginning in Pennsylvania in 1896, over the next twenty years he organized a half dozen companies operating 21 condensed milk plants in the dairy regions of Vermont, New York, Michigan and Canada. Hires died at Haverford, Pennsylvania.
Hires, Charles Elmer (August 19,1851 – July 31, 1937)
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