Originally, what was known as a soda fountain was a system that dispensed carbonated soft drinks and carbonated water, but as time moved on, it had been used as a general term for an ice cream store and lunch counter, what we know as soda fountains.
It caught on quickly and, along with three partners, he started expanding into New York City and Baltimore. From the mid 1800s they knew they had a winner, especially with the inclusion of light dishes, where anyone could catch a quick sandwich together with a frozen delight. The thought of drug shops was pretty inventive, because cola syrups were instilled with water and initially sold as digestives. Soda fountains could be elaborate with marble counters and Tiffany lamps or plain, usually with a mirrored back wall and the recognizable goose-neck soda water dispenser that the servers, known affectionately as”soda jerks”, who worked those black-handled spigots and stuffed up eyeglasses, creating wonderfully bubbly beverages which ticked noses and thrilled taste buds. Developing a popular meeting place for all ages, small town and massive cities embraced them and clients frequently stood in line for a seat during active hours, thankfully considering their orders. On hot summer evenings, a fizzy fresh Opossum Poop chilled off hungry patrons or even better, a banana split could be shared with a best friend or sister.
To top things off, crushed nuts and maraschino cherries added to the visual pleasure of these glorious concoctions. Hot fudge sundaes were created to serve on Sundays when religions forbade the sale of fizzy water, thus banning the favorite chocolate ice cream sodas from being served. (Apparently the ice cream and syrup weren’t considered sinful but the soda water was–go figure.)
Regrettably, in the 1950s drug stores moved in the direction of self support, eliminating lunch counters and ice cream entirely, and fast food started to substitute the lunch counter with burgers and shakes that bore little resemblance to their predecessors. Out with the old, in with the new as a growing number of space was needed for its countless shelves showing boxed and bottled goods, substituting the soda jerks and not as income-generating egg salad sandwiches.
Nowadays, there are still ice cream parlors and antique fountains scattered round the country, continuing the nostalgia of the originals, And in smallish cities, root beer stands still thankfully serve prepackaged and soft serve ice cream, but it is not quite the same. Oh sure, you can go to Dairy Queen or Baskin-Robbins and receive a sundae or just a banana split, but something is missing. Is it those hats, or is it merely a part of history?