Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Volume 3, Series 2 of the Dr Pepper Museum Intern Interest Peice Series

Written by Adrienne Joseph, Baylor University Public Relations Student

Eye Catching Case

Cases and cases, all containing special exhibits, the museum is full of them and what museum isn’t? The question is which ones stand out? Which ones are filled with the most interesting information? This is the question I was asked, and I found my answer on the first floor in the back room of the museum.

This case displays countless Dr Pepper containers spanning a wide variety of time from the 1890s to present showing the development of Dr Pepper containers over time. There are tons of examples of early containers including the rare and unique. It is truly fascinating.

When you first approach the case you are greeted by a rotating display of aged syrup jugs and dispensers. Did you know when this museum building was used as an early bottling plant they used to make the syrup upstairs on the second floor? The floors up there are still constructed with a rise so at the end of the day employees could just hose down the floors and the syrupy water would just drain into the surrounding gutter system.

Once you get past the rotating display, the case opens up to numerous examples of Dr Pepper bottling. The earliest bottles had paper labels that were hand applied with a flour paste. These paper labels deteriorated quickly moving manufacturers to try something else. Embossed bottles came into production and were typical glass bottles with out a label but rather adorned with raised print. Once these bottles began rubbing against and damaging each other on the conveyor belt manufactures switched to the debossed or engraved style of bottles. All of which are on display within this particular case.

Also on display are glass bottles introduced around the 1950s with applied color labels. These bottles have a permanent colored label that is not painted on, but made of colored glass and fused on to the bottle using fire. Following the glass bottles the display moves into the canned soft drink area. The first beverage cans resemble thick soup cans with cone tops. Problems with these cans like leaking, and difficulty with flavor absorption and stacking lead to the development of flat top cans. On display in the case is a wide variety of these cans whether they have cone tops or flat tops with punch in type tops, pull off tabs or stay on tabs (reducing the amount of litter).

In the 1970s plastic bottles were introduced and pulled from the market seven years later due to the instability of the plastic. Finally, polyester appeared as the material of choice and plastic bottles of Dr Pepper were made and still are in sizes of up to three liters. Several non returnable bottles are on display; these bottles are just made with a lighter weight glass and have interesting designs usually commemorating a special event, organization or anniversary.

The display concludes with modern day packaging and describes multi- unit packaging to be a significant influence in sales growth of the soft drink industry.

This case displays rare examples of Dr Pepper bottling, like the blue can of Diet Dr Pepper that always catches my eye. There is also a container that looks like a plastic Dr Pepper cup with a flat aluminum lid and a permanent tab. You can also see glass long-neck bottles with plastic screw on lids, 16.9 oz cans of Pepper Free (a drink containing less sugar and caffeine) with plastic flip tops and a 6.3 oz “baby” can of Diet Dr Pepper.

This exhibit is full of interesting information regarding how Dr Pepper bottling game to be what it is today. I love looking at all the different designs on each bottle or can and seeing how they’ve progressed to be the way they currently are. This is the case that always catches my eye and who knows, it could catch yours too.

Jim Carrey, Dr Pepper, and a New MySpace!!!

Here is a video of Jim Carrey on the Late Show with David Letterman this past Monday night. His movie The Number 23 is opening this Friday, and he gives a HUGE shout-out to Dr Pepper at the 2 minute and 50 second mark in the video. It is worth watching the whole thing, though, because he does a killer impression of David Caruso of CSI:Miami! Check it out!!

Also, be sure to check out our new MySpace page! It was time for a change, so we featured one of our favorite leading men chasing after the greatest treasure of all -- a Dr Pepper!! But don't fear, those of you who loved the old layout; we still have it available upon request!

~ Mary Beth

Volume 2, Series 2 of the Dr Pepper Museum Intern Interest Peice Series

Written by Robin Geelhoed, Baylor University Public Relations Student

I’m not really sure how it happened, but growing up I fell in love with a romanticized version of World War Two. Something about that era captivates me and anything that remotely has to do with the war effort completely fascinates me. Old movies, war propaganda posters and especially the Imperial War Museum in London have fueled my curiosity, but it took the Dr Pepper Museum to broaden my interest by exploring the soft drink industry’s role in several different wars.

Nestled opposite a classic grocery truck on the second floor is a white wall featuring vintage magazine ads, pictures and posters. It is easily overshadowed by the constant loop of Dr Pepper commercials playing around the corner, but some of the most interesting Dr Pepper history is found on that wall and should not be ignored.

Initially, I was attracted to the World War II aspect of the exhibit. Once America joined the fight in Europe, rationing hit Americans hard. While our boys were off fighting the home front had to keep the country running. Soft drinks were originally deemed unnecessary and were subject to rationing until Dr Pepper President J.B. O’Hara launched a study that proved the drink had essential nutrients that qualified it as a food. Thus, the ‘liquid bite’ was established and led to the 10-2-4 campaign.

Dr Pepper also launched an aggressive ad campaign designed to inspire the home front to support the troops. Ads in 1943 asserted that “Dr Pepper helps home-front workers fight hunger, thirst and fatigue” if drunk after working in a ‘victory garden.’

Another Dr Pepper ad featured a young girl resembling Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz encouraged the war effort at home by proclaiming, “Onward Garden Soldiers.”

Dr Pepper helped to promote the idea of victory gardens where individual families ate fresh foods straight from their gardens to decrease the national demand of food so industrial farmers could focus on feeding the troops. The nation took the concept to heart, and 20 million Americans planted these gardens. Some even called them Dr Pepper Freedom Gardens.

The wall covers more than Dr Pepper’s involvement in World War II, yet the entire exhibit holds my attention. From civil war veterans to soldiers fighting in Iraq today, Dr Pepper has always been a favorite of the troops, and Dr Pepper has been there to support them. Everyone from Roosevelt and his rough riders in 1989 to World War II feminists enjoyed the original taste of the soft drink.

Even soldiers today enjoy a taste of home in the form of Dr Pepper, but some take it more seriously than others.

The oldest photograph on the wall features an old man happily sipping Dr Pepper. Colonel C.W. Matthews was a Civil War veteran and celebrated his 102nd birthday with a 24-bottle case of Dr Pepper. It’s amazing to think that Dr Pepper was around when Matthews was the driver to bring peace emissaries to Appomattox Courthouse.

Even though I’ve always been fascinated by WWII memorabilia, the pictures from other wars captured my attention. This exhibit offers a broader look into a single company’s effort to support America regardless of its foreign policy by exploring its role in other wars.

Volume 1, Series 2 of the Dr Pepper Museum Intern Interest Peice Series

Written by Jennifer Dobbs, Baylor University Marketing Student

Every time I walk through the museum there is always an exhibit that catches my eye; the Artesian Well. This round, brick layered well is so interesting and filled with history, that it gets me thinking on how long has been here. What was the well used for? How deep does it go? How old is it? All of these questions and more fill my head, as I look straight down the dark well looking for answers.

So what exactly is an artesian well? It is a deep drilled well through which water is forced upward under pressure. The water in an artesian well flows from an aquifer, which is a layer of very spongy rock or sediment, usually sandstone, capable of holding and transmitting large quantities of water. Water from an artesian well is usually cold and free of organic contaminants, making it popular for drinking.

Artesian wells were being drilled in the Waco area in the late 19th century. These Artesian wells were believed to be the best and healthiest water. The well that was specifically drilled for the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company, was used in its soft drinks.

Around 1928 the well was closed due to the city ordering the closings of all open wells downtown, sources say. Harry Ellis, historian for the Dr Pepper Company said that employees at the plant had swept trash and thrown broken bottles in the well in the 1920s in order to fill it. The well area was covered with a 4 inch thick concrete pad on top of the floor, and the location of the well was lost after that due to renovations of the bottling plant.

When this area of this museum was restored in 1992, the 4 inch slab had to be removed to level the floor. A jackhammer went through the floor in that small circle and hit one of the bricks. The well had been found and Museum Director Joe Cavanaugh had the circular area of floor removed, exposing the top of the entire well for the first time in over 60 years.

The well was excavated to 27 _ feet, and 47 _ barrels of broken glass were retrieved from the well during excavation.

The well exhibit is a fascinating thing to look and read about. Actual bottles that were found in the well are displayed in a case, and a few pictures of Baylor students who helped excavate the well are shown also. Not to mention photos of Harry Ellis, Joe Cavanaugh and what the well looked like when it was discovered. This is a living well and during wet seasons, the groundwater can be seen in the bottom of the well, with the help from lights that are attached to the inside of the well.

*Uses for a well:
• No soft drink plant can exist without a water supply
• Water is used for---washing bottles, production of syrup, production of carbonated water, and emergency use for fire control
• Soft drinks are 86%-93% water

*Facts about the Artesian Well:
• The top 8 feet of brick are mortared
• Depth is unknown
• The well is cleared to a depth of 27 _ feet, but it’s not the bottom
• Diameter---if this well is 4 feet inside diameter and 30 feet in depth, it would hold 2,819 gallons of water when full

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Volume 3, Series 1 of the Dr Pepper Museum Intern Interest Peice Series

Written by Robin Geelhoed, Baylor University Public Relations Student

I know it’s shocking, but I don’t like Dr Pepper. I apologize to anyone who may take offense to it, but I’m a 7-Up type of girl.

Being from Chicago, I didn’t grow up with Dr Pepper. It’s definitely more of a Texas thing. But going to Baylor, I quickly learned the importance of the soft drink to Texans and to Baylor. Baylor has a weekly Dr Pepper Hour featuring Dr Pepper floats. Not to mention, the old tradition of feeding our bear mascots the drink during football games (until someone figured out all the sugar was horrible for their teeth).

I must admit, it took me three years to visit the Dr Pepper Museum. The Public Relations Student Society of America had a meeting here, and I was excited to see the museum. Jennie, the Director of Communications, spoke to us about the public relations side of the museum. Since I’ve been on a kick for a while that I want to do public relations for a museum, this was the perfect opportunity to see how’s it done.

Now, I am addicted to museums. I spent a semester studying in London, and I visited just about every museum possible while backpacking Europe.

And the poster is true; Paris has the Louvre, and Waco has the Dr Pepper.

Seriously, other than the Mona Lisa, the Louvre has nothing on the Dr Pepper. You can’t get lost in the Dr Pepper Museum, and everyone speaks English. It’s a beautiful thing.

Forget French architecture, my favorite thing about the Dr Pepper Museum is the building. The 1900s architecture of arched doorways and windows paired with tan brick gives the building a sense of heritage and permanence.

The building was constructed in 1906 and served as a bottling plant. The original wood floor is still in use on the second floor, where the syrups were made. The sticky wood, covered in syrup, was hosed down each day rather than making some poor janitor mop up each night.

The Dr Pepper Museum captures the historical atmosphere of an old-fashioned soda shop and offers a glimpse at the invention of a soda pop. But it goes a step farther and shows the development of a city.

There are several photo exhibits that show the development of Waco and the effects of the tornado in 1953. The black-and-white photos show a growing metropolis haulted by this natural disaster that ripped through the downtown area and destroyed numerous building.

There is something captivating about stepping back in time and enjoying an old-fashioned Dr Pepper the way Doc Alderton intended. The Dr Pepper Museum offers a chance to experience historical Waco through the history of a soft drink.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Volume 2, Series 1 of the Dr Pepper Museum Intern Interest Peice Series

Written by Jennifer Dobbs, Baylor University Marketing Student

Hey I’m Jennifer and I am currently interning here at the Dr Pepper Museum. I’m a junior studying public relations at Baylor University, and I’m really enjoying learning what goes on behind the scenes at the museum.

I remember coming to the museum when I was a little girl with my family and enjoying the sites that I saw as I walked around. When I moved to Waco to go to Baylor, I thought that the museum would be a great place to intern and learn what really goes on in operating the Dr Pepper Museum. When I walked around the museum when I was young, I didn’t really understand what I was reading. However, the first time I went around it last week, I was really involved in what I was reading. I learned so much in so little time, and was fascinated with everything I saw in this museum.

The actual Dr Pepper Museum is located in an old bottling factory; this sets the atmosphere as you walk inside and leads you into a unique museum filled with history. This museum is an interesting historical feature of Waco, and many tourists come to visit every year to learn about one of the United States’ most popular sodas.

The first floor is occupied with information on the background of the inventors of Dr Pepper, and a little bit about the museum itself. There are displays of old medicine bottles and other artifacts that are really fascinating to see. You then step inside a room where there is an actual bottling machine that was used for Dr Pepper. With other objects and equipment used that are displayed, it’s really neat to imagine how things worked back when Dr Pepper first came out.

Also on showcase there are various bottles and cans, showing Dr Pepper through the years. You even learn how the name ‘soda pop’ came about. In the corner of the room, there is a restored water well. When it was found there were tons of broken Dr Pepper glass bottle pieces in the well. You can look down the well and still see the water at the bottom.
In the second floor of the museum you are welcomed with so many interesting facts about Dr Pepper the drink, as well as the brand name, company, and advertising. As you walk around you will hear and see a television playing a mixture of Dr Pepper commercials. This is a great way for people to see how the soda has progressed commercially. Hanging on the walls are all sorts of various signs, ads, and logos of Dr Pepper. It’s fun to see the many slogans the soda has had throughout the years. It’s great seeing all of the old timey memorabilia placed throughout the museum. It lets you reminisce how Dr Pepper was when you were younger.

My favorite part about the museum are the little tid-bit random facts you find dispersed around the building. These facts answer all of your questions you have ever wondered about Dr Pepper. Whether it be why there isn’t a period after the Dr in the name, or what ingredients are really in the soda (yet the 23 flavors still remain a secret), you learn everything. Like did you know that back in the early years, Dr Pepper was originally called a “Waco” because Waco was the only place you could get it? The soda jerk slang around town to ask for a Dr Pepper was “shoot me a Waco!” Also did you know that Dr Pepper is owned by Cadbury Schweppes, a company that is headquarted in London? However, the Dr Pepper Museum is not owned by Dr Pepper.

Of course you can’t leave the museum without visiting the gift shop and the soda fountain. Visitors that come in can experience the taste of Dr Pepper with pure cane sugar. Visiting the Dr Pepper Museum is a really fun and great way to learn everything you want to know about the soft drink. I still continue to learn something new everyday I’m here.

Natalie Dee Loves Drinking Soda from a Beaker Too!!

"Don't tell me you've never drank soda from a beaker"

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Intern Interest Pieces

This semester we have three marketing interns here at the DPM, and they have requested some special assignments to hone their writing skills. Therefore, I have created an interest piece series for them to complete over the course of the semester. The first series will be about their general feelings about the museum as a whole; the second series will be about a specific case or exhibit they have chosen; and the third series will be about a specific object they choose. Their work will be listed on the blog and they will also be available as a podcast. Enjoy!!

Volume 1, Series 1

A few of my favorites…
Hi, I'm Adrienne a junior public relations student at Baylor and currently an intern here at the Dr Pepper Museum.
I remember first moving to Waco almost three years ago. I had friends constantly calling from all over the state asking me to go buy them some of that “good Dr Pepper” from the Dr Pepper museum here in Waco. Being from a big city I didn't know much about Waco or that it is the home of Dr Pepper, much less there was an entire museum dedicated to it here. Request after request I would have to load up my trunk with bottles of Dr Pepper made with pure cane sugar each time I went home. Now that I've had the opportunity to intern here I've gotten to know the museum a lot more in depth rather than just being familiar with the gift shop in the front.

The museum is set up in an old bottling plant, which gives its unique atmosphere. On the second floor you can find answers to many of the questions you’ve always had about Dr Pepper. An example being, the myth concerning whether or not Dr Pepper’s main ingredient is prune juice. (By the way, it’s not.) Although this floor is full of interesting information I would have to say my favorite exhibit has to be down stairs in the back room.
Here the entire room is set up as if it were still part of the bottling plant. Right when you walk in you’re greeted by a Meyer-Dunmore Junior bottle washing machine.

This machine was made to fit a capacity of up to 120 bottles per minute. Here it shows the process of cleaning bottles but it’s said that the plant in Waco used the Meyer-Dunmore bottle Washer which was the “big brother” of the “junior”.
In the corner of the room is a an Artesian water well dedicated to Harry Ellis, the Historian of Dr Pepper Company who helped establish the core of the museums collections. The well served as an actual water source in the bottling plant until the 1920’s when a city ordinance required that it be filled in. It was rediscovered in 1992 during the restoration of the area.

Also on display in this room is soft drink manufacturing equipment used in making some of the earliest Dr Pepper. You can read step by step through the syrup manufacturing process, to the water filtration and purification, to the filling and capping of the bottles and lastly the mixing, labeling and banding of the bottles. You can start at the beginning and see the syrup crocks on display and follow along the process to the motorized stirring devices, to the rocker style carbonator, to the 1898 Crown Cork &Sealer/Filler Capper. The process ends with the 1930’s Dixie Filler/Capper and the 1963 CEM mixer and bottling/labeling machines. It’s interesting to follow the process and see how machines have changed today.

The history in this building is fascinating; something new catches my eye every day. The museum has many interesting exhibits already on display, and as new exhibits continue to make their way to the museum I look forward to what’s in store.