Welcome to our Antique Bottles Community

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Antique Bottle Community on the Web.

Register Log in

Carrier and 6 bottles


Well-Known Member
Mar 25, 2008
Finally picked up a carrier and six more bottles....
If anyone out there has any more NK carriers or bottles they'd like to sell drop me a line please. Also this next Sunday is the bottle show in St. Louis so anyone bringing NK stuff
I'll be hitting each table looking... So heads ups you will have a buyer. Looking for near mint bottles, carriers, caps, openers, etc.




Well-Known Member
Jan 28, 2009
I totally love the carrier. I only have a couple of Nichol Kola bottles, one from Perry, IA, and one from Gaffney, S.C. with the 5cents. If you have an extra 6cent one, or any used caps, I would be interested.


Well-Known Member
Mar 25, 2008
Thanks guys... I wish I had a 6 cent bottle I believe they are NC area bottles so it'll be a long time till a nice one finds its way here... But I'm always looking - only have few caps too... someone a while back had some and bottle labels maybe they'll chime in...
Looking forward to the bottle show here in St. Louis I'll try and take some pictures to post.
Anyone going and setting up to sell?


Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2011
You the fellow who re-furbed a NK cooler on soda-machines.com a year or so ago?
Just curious. I hope to go to that show Sunday. Looking for cartons (off brands) and anything soda pop that isn't too $$$!


Well-Known Member
May 21, 2009

Those are great!!
Any chance of seeing a photo of your entire NK collection so far?

Again wonderful stuff!!



Well-Known Member
May 25, 2010
heres a short copy of an article on nichol Kola from "soda Pop dreams" issue number 5 which is now soda spectrum a great mag, all soda collectors should subscribe. I bought the back issue cd that has 55 issues on it a great buy interesting how he discusses not may bottles back then I believe as collecting has expanded more bottle came out of the attics and garages this article is from Dec 1998

By Tim Raben
If you have ever tuned into the e-bay auctions on your computer,you have heard of Nichol Kola.
If you have ever gone to a swap meet, you found the Nichol Kola signs everywhere. This soda from
the 1940’s seems more popular today than it was back then (not that I was around back then).
This Kola was started by the H.R. Nicholson Company back in 1936. We tend to thinkof it as the Nickel drink,
as in five cents. This was the Kola that proclaimed to be “America’s taste Sensation.†The art deco signs have shown up in
about seven different styles and they are everywhere. These common signs were rumoured to be part of a large warehouse find about 10 years ago. They seem to be all N.O.S. (new old stock). They all have some slight damage or hazing from the paper between the signs. There are several really odd things about Nichol Kola. For example, chances are if you have ever looked at old pictures from the 1940’s, you probably haven’t seen any Nichol Kola signs in the background. They’re not hanging on the sides of old gas stations or grocery stores. It just seems every single one out there is N.O.S. Were they ever used back then? Another interesting thing I have noticed, it’s rare to ever see a Nichol Kola soda bottle. Now a company who produced so many advertising signs should have a ton of pop bottles show up over the years. I have collected old pop bottles for over 20 years and I have only seen two Nichol Kola brand bottles. Both are
in my collection and both were bought from the same place. Did this company ever produce any soda pop?
As a collector of vintage soda advertising, this is part of my collection. The interestingthing about them is that they usually sell in the $20 to $30 range, which makes them very affordableto any collector. While they are not rare, or overly valuable, they really have many of the things we look for in old soda advertising! So what happenedto Nichol Kola? Where did they go? Why didn’t they use all the N.O.S. signs they made? Why have so few bottles shown up? Who knows... maybe their advertising budget broke the company. Tim Raben is a collector of off-brand soda memorabilia from Albert Lea,


Well-Known Member
May 25, 2010
Heres another from "soda Spectrum mag" They have emailed me in the past and appreciate the exposure, subscribe or buy the 55 issue disk you wont be sorry
some great pictures in the issue you need to view it and the entire article from issue number 54 2010
Nichol Kola
Uncovering the History Behind
By Blair Matthews
Photos courtesy of:
Eric Wideman &
Chris King
‘Spur’ photos by
Blair Matthews
Harry R. Nicholson dreamed of creating something
great that would live on for generations. A
long-time Baltimore, MD resident, Nicholson was
ambitious, intelligent, and had savy business sense.
He adopted the philosophy early on that a high quality
product was the most important aspect of any
business. If you had a quality product, he reasoned,
the public would embrace it and business would
Nicholson had worked at the J.J. Heinz Company
in Baltimore and it wasn’t long before he recognized
that he wanted to become an entrepreneur in
the manufacturing industry.
Starting out in 1906, he didn’t have much; a
small building that had previously been an oystershucking
house with no plumbing and no heat
served as his headquarters. A few days after he took
possession of the building, he bought an old-fashioned egg-stove and had
plumbing installed.
Sun-Boc and Prohibition
Nicholson had the business intuition to recognize that with Prohibition
looming, non-alcoholic drinks would soon be in high demand.
He was right.
Nicholson went to work on a formula for an amber-colored near-beer that
looked and tasted just like the real thing. He named his beverage Sun-Boc.
While his company didn’t bottle the new beverage, it did supply the
extract to bottlers, who could mix it quite easily with carbonated water and
manufacture Sun-Boc in huge quantities.
Two years later, Sun-Boc was a hit - and provided the financial means for
Nicholson to move his company into bigger facilities.
Ver-Vac is Born
Nicholson took what he had learned with Sun-Boc and ventured into the
soft drink business, sure that he had a winning cola formula that would hold
up against anything else on the market - including Coca-Cola. As with Sun-
Boc, Nicholson manufactured Ver-Vac (a German name that means ‘flavor’
and ‘quality’) syrup and sold it to companies who wanted to bottle it in their
Coca-Cola was hardly two decades old at the time and regional soft
drinks were popping up everywhere. Ver-Vac quickly gained popularity in
Baltimore and beyond. With its appeal growing, Nicholson decided to seek
out investors to help him grow the company and take production to the next
Investors join the Ver-Vac Movement
Visions of going national with Ver-Vac danced in Nicholson’s head and
a group of investors, headed by Yellow Cab Co.’s W.W. Cloud, and Fred
Backus of Backus Motor Co. provided the capital. They handed Nicholson a
check for $110,000 to fund the promotion and publicity for a national U.S.
But it was a dream that
quickly turned into a nightmare.
Nicholson equipped his plant
with all the necessary machinery
to facilitate the national
roll-out. But in an instant, the
United States entered World
RIGHT: A sponsorship ad for Nichol
Kola, including a photo of a company
delivery truck.
War I and the government rationed
sugar. For manufacturers, the
amount of sugar they were allotted
was based on their usage before the
rationing. Since the company had
only been producing in short supply
up to that point, they couldn’t
get the sugar they so desperately
required. Within a few weeks,
the price of rationed sugar rose
from four cents a pound to 29
cents a pound.
New machinery had
been purchased and
put into place, everything
was ready for a
national rollout... but
the equipment sat idle.
A sugar broker from
overseas proposed a
deal to Nicholson: all
the sugar he needed,
for 29 cents a pound.
He consulted his investors,
who gave him
their blessing. Afterall,
sugar was the only thing standing in
the way of liquid gold.
Or so they thought.
Before the tons of sugar Nicholson
had ordered even arrived on U.S.
soil, the war ended and overnight the
price of sugar went from 29 cents a
pound to 7 cents. The expansion
was broke before it even began.
When the investors
learned of the situation
they chalked it up to an
unfortunate situation that
couldn’t have been foreseen.
Though they
ultimately severed ties
with him, it wasn’t
before they relieved
him of his financial
obligation to them.
Nicholson wasn’t
the only one to lose
everything he had
struggled to build -
Pepsi-Cola went broke
that same year due to the
sugar crisis.
Nicholson was determined to stay in business
despite the crippling blow to the bottom line. It took
him 10 years to pay back what he owed to the bank
(over and above what he had been granted from his
original investors).
Starting Over
In 1926 the company went from being known
as the “Syrup Products Company†to the “H.R.
Nicholson Companyâ€, and from the ashes of the Ver-
Vac era rose Nichol Kola.
Nicholson had seen how Pepsi-Cola was making
great strides by bottling in a 12-ounce bottle and
selling it for only a nickel. He figured that if Pepsi
could do it, so could Nichol Kola. In a single year
the company sold over 100,000 gallons of Nichol
Kola and private-brand concentrate to over 100
franchised independent bottlers across the United
At a 1937 national bottlers’ convention in
Atlantic City, New Jersey, the H.R. Nicholson Company was a popular booth
for trade show attendees. People flocked to see the Nichol Kola display and
sample the drink - including Paul Ferber, a buyer for the then-prestigious
Hoffman Beverage Company.
Hoffman Beverages were served in exclusive night clubs and restaurants
in New York City at that time.
So it was a nice surprise when, three months later, a call came from
Hoffman Beverages and an order of 5,000 gallons of cola concentrate was
The cola flavor caught on so decisively that in 1938, the Canada
Dry Ginger Ale Company came knocking... looking for a cola flavor
to add to their growing portfolio. After a year of testing
Nichol Kola (they even conducted taste tests at a board
meeting where they put unmarked Nichol Kola into glass
Coke bottles and tried to get their Board of Directors to
figure out which was which), they were won over.
They adopted the Nichol Kola concentrate, but changed
its name to Spur. At the time, Canada Dry was the second
largest franchised soda company in the United States,
second only to Coca-Cola.
Canada Dry magazine advertising shows that Spur
remained a staple in their portfolio throughout the
1940s until at least 1950.
By this time, Nicholson’s son, Harry R. Nicholson
Jr. was fresh out of Baltimore City College and
joined his father to help run the family business. He
had the same level of work ethic, intelligence, and
dedication to quality as his father had - and he
excelled in sales.
High Rock Ginger Ale Rises then Falls...
Around that same time, Nicholson developed
a ginger ale recipe at the request of independent
Baltimore bottler Louis A. Fine, who was looking
for both a golden and a pale dry ginger ale to sell
through small ‘ma and pa’ stores. The beverage
was called High Rock Ginger Ale; a 24 oz bottle
sold for 10 cents. In the 1930s, High Rock was the
largest-selling ginger ale in Baltimore.
When High Rock’s bottling
company was passed on to son
Albert Fine, bad business advice
spelled disaster for the brand.
To save money and increase
profit margins, Fine ended up
One of the many
brands that the
H.R. Nicholson
Company sold
concentrate to.
switching to a lower quality of
ginger ale extract from a different
supplier. That decision spelled
disaster for High Rock Ginger Ale
and the company folded.
The trademarks and the name
were purchased at auction by a
competing brand, who bought
them specifically to take them
away from the marketplace and
eliminate the competition.
The H.R. Nicholson Company
had reportedly sold the High Rock
Ginger Ale bottlers over a million
dollars worth of ginger ale extract
in the brand’s heyday.
Within the next 10 years, much
was changing in the once lucrative
soda market. Competition was
becoming fierce, and Nicholson
was feeling every bit of it.
Everything is Coming Up ‘Oranges’
Fortunately, Nicholson Sr. started branching out into other areas of the
soft drink industry. He invented Bombay California Valencia Orange Base,
an orange flavor that served the Institutional Food Distributors directly.
They serviced hospitals, nursing homes, schools, colleges, and correctional
Later, they developed a pineapplegrapefruit
base under the Bombay
label and landed a contract to supply
it to the Department of Mental
Hygiene throughout the state of New
During the 1970s, business for
the H.R. Nicholson Company had
shifted dramatically. Many of the
14,000 independent bottlers across
the United States had folded.
Time marched forward, and more
independent bottlers closed up shop,
ravaged by cola giants Coca-Cola
and Pepsi. With no independent bottlers
left to sell concentrate to, Nichol
Kola ceased to exist as a cola brand.

Latest posts

Members online

Latest threads

Forum statistics

Latest member