Category: Food, snacks and beverages

First popular instant coffee


Image: 1939 UK ad in unspecified magazine from .

Nescafé was rolled out in UK and USA. It was first available in Europe a few years earlier. We couldn’t find a 1939 era U.S. ad.

Various kinds of instant coffee were developed as long ago as 1771. The process developed to make Nescafé in the late ’30s became widely popular because of taste improvement. Learn more at .

See more about Nescafé here: .




Image: detail of a Pepsi-Cola brochure from .

In 1939 Pepsi-Cola began using the “Twice as Much for a Nickel” slogan.*

“Walter S. Mack… used a court fight and an incessant radio jingle to transform the little-known Pepsi-Cola Co. into one of the nation’s two largest-selling soft-drink makers…

“Mack became Pepsi’s president in 1938, when the company was spun off from a New York candy maker, Loft’s Inc. At that time, Pepsi was selling a syrup developed by a North Carolina druggist at the turn of the century. But Pepsi made little headway against Coca-Cola until Mack took away Coke’s control of the name “cola” in a historic court battle.”

Excerpts from the 1990 obituary of Mack in the Los Angeles Times newspaper: .


An article about a Pepsi-Cola bottler promising to open in Santa Ana appeared in the Santa Ana Register newspaper on September 16, 1939.

* from . Click on the link to learn more about the company’s advertising strategy.

Acme beer


Image: 1940 Petty art

“In 1939 Acme commissioned George Petty (who had just left Esquire magazine) to paint three lithesome gals which were used for the 1940, ’41, and ’43 campaigns. These images were utilized in a number of different formats. They produced a 26″ and a 33″ wide, framed image for wall hanging; a 12″ wide, framed version on an easel for back-bar display; and a cutout window card that was 42″ long and easel mounted for window displays.”

Acme Breweries was a Los Angeles company.

Excerpt and image from . Click on the link to learn more.


Nesbitt’s orange drink


Image: 1939 27″ x 11″ metal sign.

“[Los Angeles based] Nesbitt Fruit Products Company was founded in 1924 by Hugh S. Nesbitt. The company produced syrups to be used in soda fountains. The company produced a full line of fountain products through the years…

“In 1927 the company began producing Nesbitt’s Orange for distribution to soda fountains where it was mixed with 5 parts water. When they started bottling it in 1938-39 it was distinguished by the fact that it was made from 10% California orange juice.”

Excerpts from . Click on the link to learn much more about the company and its products.

Currie’s ice cream


Interior view of Currie’s Ice Cream Parlor in Wilmington. Three employees stand behind the counter, waiting to serve customers. The shop offers several flavors of ice cream, sundaes, malts, and has ‘fountain specials’.  Image: Los Angeles Public Library.

“In Southern California, people still [2012] fondly remember the Currie’s chain and its “mile-high cone” whose replica was often displayed billboard-style on roofs.”

Excerpt and info on other ice cream parlors:


Brown Derby restaurants


1939 image of Cary Grant and Phyllis Brooks at the Hollywood Brown Derby. From .

There was more than just one Brown Derby in the Hollywood-Los Angeles area.

“In 1939, Bob Cobb [co-owner of the Brown Derby restaurants] commented, ‘Clark Gable has to have his coffee just right and Alice Faye’s boiled eggs can’t be left on too long. Gary Cooper’s fried chicken must be dry rather than greasy. And that’s the way they get ’em. They get ’em that way even though we have to tear the kitchen apart.
“‘Stars are particular about their food because they know what good food is. Stars are used to having things the way they want them and that;s how we plan to have them. But if we didn’t the stars wouldn’t fuss. Most of them are the nicest folks on earth from a restaurant man’s point of view. No, they’d simply leave the food, exit smiling and not come back. Who’d blame them? Not me!'”
Excerpts from

Brown Derby’s Chef Salad recipe, a scaled down version of the restaurant’s famous Cobb Salad. (Published in 1939): .

See more 1939 Brown Derby photos and information at .

Read about Phyllis Brooks at .