Thursday, 20 August 2015

Crush on Crushy

Driving home from work recently, I couldn’t resist turning into an estate sale not far from my home “just to look” where I found this sweet little gem of a bottle to add to my vintage collection.

It’s an amber Orange Crush soda pop bottle featuring the Crushy logo. Crushy, whose orange-shaped head was usually printed in blue on signs, resembles ancient hieroglyphics or one of today’s emoticons when printed in white on bottles such as this one.

According to, Orange Crush was invented in Chicago in 1906 and founded as Ward’s Orange Crush in 1916, the brainchild of a California chemist named Neil Ward and entrepreneur Clayton Howel, who had already tried to make a go of it in the orange-soda business with Howel’s Orange Julep.

Sales of Orange Crush in the 1920s outpaced its competitors on the back of doctors recommending orange juice as an excellent source of Vitamin C, because the soda contained orange juice and pulp rather than the oils of the fruit’s peel, according to the 2013 book Fizz: How Soda Shook Up the World by Tristan Donovan.

Collectors Weekly also says from the end of World War II until the mid-1970s, Orange Crush was sold in a new amber-colored krinkly bottle, whose dark glass was advertised in an ACL (applied color label) on the bottle’s back as being able to “protect the fresh fruit flavor from the harmful effects of light.”

I think it’s fantastic that this particular bottle survived 40 to 70 years without getting chipped, cracked or broken. It was quite dusty inside when I acquired it, leading me to think it sat on a garage shelf for many, many years.

My earliest memories of Orange Crush have it bottled in clear bottles of the 1970s and being poured over vanilla ice cream by my grandfather making Orange Floats on a hot, summer day.

Those kind of memories are the type to make this bottle “priceless” to a vintage collector such as myself.

Today, the Crush brand and trademark are owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group of Plano, Texas. Crush is also popular in Canada, where it is distributed by subsidiary Canada Dry Motts.

I haven’t added to my collection for a while and I’m not sure what made me attend this particular estate sale. I guess sometimes our intuition takes us places we wouldn’t normally go and where there might be a gem just waiting to be discovered. Follow your heart.

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