An ACL bottle with a look that I really like frequently shows up at shows and antique stores around here and I decided to look up it's history. To my disappointment, there is barely any information about it out there.
According to the few references I could find, "Rummy" grapefruit drink / soda was originally a mixer for alcoholic drinks but became a national carbonated beverage in 1948. It was produced by the Wonder-Orange Company, 223 West Erie St., Chicago.
The various small histories around the internet all say 1948 as a creation date, but I was able to find some ads from late 1947, including this one that appears to be from an industry bottler magazine stating "Rummy Goes National!"
These two 1947 ads are from California, where Wonder-Orange appears to have opened a new location:
These two ads are from 1948 and list the original Wonder-Orange company in Chicago:
I have found a paper label looks to be from the days when Rummy was just a mixer, and it lists "American Soda Water Co." in Milwaukee on it.
The label corresponds to this die cut cardboard sign:
So what is the relation between the American Soda Water Co and Wonder-Orange?
Currently the soda still exists and is bottled by Excel Bottling in Breese, IL: http://excelbottling.com/soda/rummy/
However, their page states "What started as our sour mix, has now become Rummy." and a page about Excel Bottling that was last update in 2015 here: http://glassbottlesoda.org/bottlers/excel.shtml , only lists "sour mix" as a flavor and not "Rummy". So the likelihood of this just being a generic sour mix where someone bought the rights to the defunct name (like Orca-Beverage constantly does) are high.
I was just wondering if anyone has any more information about the creation of this product or any of its history and transformations...
I will list all the bottle variations I have found in a post to follow this one.
The relationship between American Soda Water and Wonder Orange is that Wonder Orange would be the franchisee and American Soda Water being a franchiser.
I found a local newspaper ad dated 1943 from Wonder Orange looking for franchisers here locally in St. Louis, Mo. The Rummy bottle I possess does not mention a bottler, but oddly enough I have a Wonder Beverages bottle that says it was bottled by Rummy Bottling Co. Inc., St. Louis. Notice on the bottles backside it says Wonder Deluxe Beverages rather than Wonder Orange. The bottle I have is 1952, maybe a name change took place?
I just found this newspaper article from Escabana, Michigan in 1977:
also, regarding "Rummy Bottling", this page here: https://www.collectorsweekly.com/sto...nder-beverages
Mentions the following:
"In 1952 John Triola, Nikola Jakovac, Louis Jakovac and Sam Antinora purchased a franchise of Rummy and registered the name of Rummy Bottling Company at 1820 Marconi Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the sodas they bottled was Wonder Beverages."
Looks like Wonder Orange / Rummy was indeed nationwide having franchises in Michigan and Missouri also.
The post you found in the CW was entered by me, I had found a Registration of Fictitous Name in the Missouri state archives and told of its contents.
Interesting that its 1940 dated. Must have had an old stock of bottles lying around when they decided to start up with Rummy! I love the textured neck!
Also, got a response from Excel Bottling, the current makers of Rummy:
Excel Bottling Company is an independent bottling company that has been bottling soda since 1936. We have continually produce soda using cane sugar and we still do produce returnable bottles. My grandfather acquired franchised rights from a number of trademarked soda and one of those sodas was rummy. Under the franchised agreements, you would purchase the concentrate and bottle from the syrup house and in turn they would grant you exclusive rights to bottle and distribute the soda in a franchised area using the formula provided. I believe we acquired the rummy franchise in the late 1940’s and originally bottled rummy in 7 oz and 10 oz bottles. For bars and taverns, we bottled the rummy in a 32 oz quart bottle with a sour mix crown. When the wonder orange company went out of business, we continued bottling the soda with a concentrate that matched the flavor profile and eventually we ended up trademarking the Rummy name under our corporate name. Unlike some companies that have trademarked defunct soda brands, all the brands that we have trademarked, we have either bottled the product under a franchised agreement, or we purchased bottles/formulas from the parent company. Cheers, Bill Meier