A young chemist named Charles Alderton who prepared prescriptions for the citizens of Waco at Morrison's Corner Drugstore in Waco liked to dabble with the fruit syrups and carbonated water at the soda fountain. He kept a journal and after experimenting with several combinations, he hit upon a formula of 23 fruit juices and felt he had a winner. After trying it out on the store's owner who liked it, Alderton began to test it on the customers, who liked it as well. When they came to the counter, they began calling the drink a "Waco."
Morrison is credited with naming the drink, Dr Pepper, but nobody knows the exact story of how that came to be. Several stories have circulated, but the most enduring one is that Morrison named it after the father of a girl he was once in love with.
Soon the drink became so popular that Morrison's couldn't handle the orders any longer. Alderton was not interested in pursuing it any further and gave the formula over to a beverage chemist, Robert Lazenby. In 1891 he and Morrison formed the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company, which later became the Dr Pepper Company.
They took the drink to the 1904 World's Fair where over 20 million people were introduced to the drink. Hamburgers and hot dogs on a bun were also newcomers introduced at the fair, and for the first time, ice cream was served in large quantities.
The beverage went through a series of logos and slogans. It was known as the "King of Beverages," from 1910 to 1914. "Old Doc," a typical country doctor figure with a top hat and a monocle became the trademark character in the 1930's and 40's. About that time research was released revealing people experience a dip in energy during the day at 10:30, 2:30, and 4:30, and that sugar boosted the energy dip. A contest was held for the creation of an ad to get the information out. Dr. Pepper came up with the slogan, "Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2, and 4," and then moved on to "Dr Pepper, the friendly pepper upper" in the '50s.
Dr Pepper is still a favorite drink in Texas and in the South, as well as Dr Pepper floats. You can hear the oft-asked question at many social and sporting events, "Would you like a Coke or a Dr Pepper?"
So what do you prefer, coke or Dr Pepper ... or perhaps another drink? Were you aware that Dr Peppers were once known as "Wacos?"
A multi-published fiction author, Golden Keyes Parsons and her husband, Blaine, live in Waco, TX. Her series, Darkness to Light, (Thomas Nelson) chronicled the journey of her ancestors in 17th century France and was a finalist for ACFW’s Debut Author of the Year in 2008. Her fourth novel, His Steadfast Love, a Civil War novel, was a National Readers Choice finalist. Parsons has also written a biblical fiction series entitled Hidden Faces, Portraits of Nameless Women in the Gospels (WhiteFire Publishing). You can contact her at www.goldenkeyesparsons.com.