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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Fountain Service: 1950s

Fountain Service: 1950s

From behind the soda fountain, another view of this early 1950s lunch counter. Check out the Coke dispenser (nicknamed "motorboat" because of the outboard-engine shape) attached to the syrup rail, Nestle's Hot Fudge machine and Hamilton Beach single head milkshake mixer on back bar. All collectible pieces today. It's a shame virtually all of these places are gone. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Steep learning curve

I worked Byer's, Not Bryere's, ice-cream parlor, on Jericho Turnpike in the late fifties. You spent most of the first three weeks repeating the items under each flip-up and behind each door. You not only had to be able to whip up any frozen concoction by memory, you had to be able to reach blindly for each ingredient and seamlessly incorporate it into the sub-chaser or Floral Park Special you were mounding up!

Wow - just like my parents' luncheonette in Levittown NY!

I have a photo of myself behind a counter very similar to that. And like a previous commenter, I also still have the green/chrome Hamilton Beach "malted machine," as we called it. Not may of these places around.

Spent a lot of time behind a counter like that

My Dad owned a store that had a soda fountain like this one. As a youngster my brother and I would make every concoction we could think of.
We had coke syrup in the fountain and added the carbonated water to mix our own. People would come in and buy a small container of the syrup, my Dad said this was to help them with sore throats and colds.
We also had a Hire's Root Beer dispenser, that was some good stuff.
I still have one of the single Hamilton Beach mixers like the one on the far right. It is light green with a chrome head and I still have the stainless steel shake or frappe mixing cans. Amazingly they still work and my kids enjoyed many homemade shakes.

This reminds me of my place!

this is soo cool!! With very little exception, we had just about every item on the back bar and our fountain, which was a lot smaller looked exactly like that down to the soda draft arms,the Coke dispenser and the towels on the rings attached to the fountain. I could walk in there right now and be at home behind the fountain!! Thanks for the memory check!

The slatted wood on the

The slatted wood on the floor is called duckboard. I've trod on many, including as a sidewalk at a commercial airport in the 1940s.

During WWI, Marine General Smedley Butler solved "horribly unsanitary" conditions by putting duckboard over mud at a debarkation depot in France, starting by carting the first one himself up a four-mile hill to the camp. General John J Pershing authorized a duckboard shoulder patch for the units. This earned Butler another nickname, "Old Duckboard."

Fountain Service Memory

Reminds me of the many days spent at the local drug store fountain during summer vacation. You could go there with a buck and buy a few comic books and several packs of baseball cards with enough change left for a few cherry cokes. It is too bad these places are scarce today along with Woolworth's and Ben Franklin "dime stores."


I agree with the first commenter, even though I was born in the late 60's. I long for the fifties and all that it entailed with the cars, soda fountains, dances, etc. With today's environment, all these things as they were in the fifties would probably be regulated out of business anyway.

I agree with OTY

I want to go back and have a shake there. I know, I know, tastes the same now, but somehow sitting at that soda fountain makes it seem better!!!

One of a Thousand

Growing up in the Bronx there was a candy store (soda fountain ) on every corner in my neighborhood there were at least 12. The names still stick with me. Bib and Sams, Angies, Lefty's, and so many others. Nothing like going into one on a hot summer day for a large 8 0z egg cream 7 cents or an enormous bottle 12 oz. of Mission orange or grape, 15 cents. Dads root beer in a frosty mug, and any one of many other delights for literally pennies. What memories. I think there are maybe 2 or 3 left in all of NYC. what a shame.

Toy Motorboat

My cousin had a toy Coke dispenser (motorboat) it was about the size of a football and an original bottle of coke would be loaded into it, when the serve lever was pushed down the bottle rocked up and poured coke out.


Wow, talk about a step back. Those were my growing-up teen years, and I wish I had a dime for each Coke I drank from an identical fountain. No one has matched the yummy hot fudge that came from that Nestle's kettle. The malt/milkshake mixer, the cash register with the distinctive bell, even the slatted wood on the floor to keep above the spills carries me back to a much younger, much simpler and much happier time. Thank you, Dave.

Second picture of same Soda Fountain?

The two phone booths in the back and the toys above remind me of an earlier Fountain picture. I agree that the times were great. No worries about getting a job. I got a job right out of high school. Then I went in the Navy, learned electronics and got a better job within 3 days of my discharge. It wasn't just that jobs were available; there were new types of jobs undreamed of 2 or 3 years before.

[Perhaps there is a CLUE in the FIRST SENTENCE of the PHOTO CAPTION. - Dave]

My first job

was being a soda-jerk in a place very much like this.
And I learned something too: I’m still a jerk.

Baked goods

The "Baked Goods Dept." sign in the left rear, which wasn't visible in the earlier photo, leads me to believe that this lunch counter was in a relatively large store, one large enough to have separate departments. Possibly a Woolworth's or McCrory's, as a comment to the prior photo suggested.

Rock around the clock

This really takes an old person back to the mid-fifties. I'm hearing Bill Haley play "See ya later, alligator," looking at my dirty white bucks and ivy league charcoal gray pants, styling a D.A. and ordering a V.P. (vanilla plain). In my opinion, the fifties were the very best time to be young and innovative, the cars were the coolest ever and prosperity made everything upbeat because it seemed we could become anything we chose. Love this picture, especially the ice cream freezers and drink appliances. I wanna go back.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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