For sale is a very early original 1894 HIRES ROOT BEER Trade Card – Happy Boy, Charles E. Hires Company, Philadelphia, PA. Measures about 3″ x 5″. The Card ebtitled “All Gone” is in overall excellent condition with minor creases at the corners and edge wear. The back of the card details Hires 1894 sales numbers and boasts that Hires Root Beer is made from “healthful roots” whiles its competitors product is “destitute of roots and detrimental to health”. This is a top notch collectible from an iconic American company.
Hires Root Beer was created by Philadelphia pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires. By 1876, Hires was marketing 25-cent packets of powder which each yielded five gallons of root beer. At Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition in 1876, he cultivated new customers by giving away free glasses of root beer. Hires claimed his root beer would purify the blood and make rosy cheeks. In 1884, he began producing a liquid extract and a syrup for use in soda fountains, and was soon shipping root beer in kegs and producing a special fountain dispenser called the “Hires Automatic Munimaker.” In 1890, the Charles E. Hires Company incorporated and began supplying Hires root beer in small bottles claiming over a million bottles sold by 1891.
Hires’s use of the word “beer” drew the wrath of the temperance movement. He had his root beer tested by a laboratory, and trumpeted their conclusion that a glass of his root beer contained less alcohol than a loaf of bread. Hires Root Beer was promoted as “The Temperance Drink” and “the Greatest Health-Giving Beverage in the World.” Hires advertised aggressively because he believed “doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody ELSE does.”