In the world of soft-drink collectibles, Dr Pepper is a pip-squeak compared to Coca-Cola, the 800-pound gorilla of carbonated sugar water, whose international ubiquity eclipses all other competitors combined. But Coke did not reach the top of the cola heap by being first. That honor goes to Dr Pepper, which was served in December of 1885 at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. In contrast, the first glass of Coca-Cola was poured at a pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, in May of 1886.

Dr Pepper, whose name has officially lacked punctuation since 1950, was invented by a pharmacist working at Morrison’s named Charles Alderton. When he wasn’t filling prescriptions for customers, he mixed and matched various fountain syrups until his 23-flavor concoction achieved that distinctive but difficult-to-describe fruitiness we recognize today as Dr Pepper.

The first Dr Pepper logo, used through the mid-1890s, touted a beverage called Dr. Pepper’s Phos-Ferrates and seemed to reveal two of the drink’s ingredients, wheat and iron. When the drink was introduced to attendees at the 1904 World's Fair Exposition in St. Louis, Dr. Pepper bottle labels proclaimed the drink to be the “King of Beverages,” but by the 1920s, the tagline had changed to “Good for Life.”

In fact, the 1920s were a pivotal decade for the beverage. For example, in 1923 the company moved its headquarters from Waco to Dallas, a signal that it was ready to play in the big soda leagues. That same year, a new advertising campaign was also introduced. On everything from print ads to porcelain, tin, and cardboard signs, a character named “Old Doc,” a kindly looking, old-timey country doctor who wore a monocle and a top hat, was paired with a new “10, 2, and 4” graphic, which resembled a clock with three hands pointing to the corresponding numbers. These were the hours of the day when Old Doc prescribed the beverage for an energy lift. In fact, the beverage was promised to be as sustaining as food, as slogans like “Drink a bite to eat” and “When Hungry, Thirsty or Tired” show.

By the 1940s, the word “lift” was tossed around freely in Dr Pepper ads, which relied increasingly on pretty girls to sell the soft drink. In one ad, a young blonde at a football game smiles at the offer of a bottle of Dr Pepper below the words “Quick Lift For Active People.” A pigtailed redhead in a flannel shirt and rolled up jeans takes a break from fishing near the legend “Smart Lift.” And in the 1950s, cardboard signs in wooden frames crowned by the 10, 2, 4 logo depicted square dancers and cheerleaders alongside a 10, 2, 4 Dr Pepper bottle cap and the slogan “A Lift For Life!”

During the 1950s, Dr Pepper was also advertised as “The Friendly Pepper-Upper” on everything from fountain dispensers to Dr Pepper branded menu boards. But the most recognized Dr Pepper slogan with the word “Pepper” in it is undoubtedly “Be a Pepper,” which was conceived in 1977. Less well known is the decades-long campaign to promote the soft drink as something that could be enjoyed in any sort of weather, be it hot or cold. Accordingly, Dr Pepper advertising thermometers bore sentiments like “Hot or Cold, Enjoy Dr Pepper” or “Hot or Cold, Drink Dr Pepper,” and the company even made electric heating units labeled “Dr Pepper Hot,” which were designed to heat up a mug of the sweet beverage on a cold winter’s day.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Advertising Antiques

Advertising Antiques

This classy looking British site features hundreds of high resolution photos of antique porcelain pre-war (enamel) … [read review or visit site]

Ad Access

Ad Access

Duke University's library has pulled together an impressive collection of over 7,000 ads printed in U.S. and Canadi… [read review or visit site]

American Package Museum

American Package Museum

Ian House's gallery of early 20th Century American package designs. Browse the exhibits in slide show mode or view … [read review or visit site]

Found in Moms Basement

Found in Moms Basement

Paula Zargaj-Reynolds’ blog, an extensive collection of 20th century vintage advertising, is a visual feast. Scro… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

40's Dr Pepper Soda Pop Clock Brick Logo Works!!Dr Pepper Can Porcelain Door Push Sign Soda Pop Cola General Store VintageVintage Double Sided Dr. Pepper Cardboard Advertising SignOriginal Double Cola Starburst Round Advertising Thermometer Sign Gas Dr. PepperKevin Grubb Dr. Pepper/carroll Racing Race Worn Drivers Uniform/firesuitVintage 1960's Or 70's "dr. Pepper" ~ Hot Or Cold ~ Metal Thermometer Sign~worksGreat Old Dr. Pepper Soda Advertising Bottle Opener Cap Lifter "good For Life!"Antique Neon Dr. Pepper SignDr Pepper Pam Clock 1960's Original Working Diner General Store Glass Face Nice!Dr Pepper Die Cut Bottle Opener Original Tray8-15Frost King Deluxe Soda Bottle, Dr Pepper Bottling, Elk City, Oklahoma 1946Original Double Cola Soda Round Advertising Thermometer Sign Dr Pepper 7up Beer1950s Vintage Dr. Pepper Old Pam Thermometer SignVintage Antique Dr. Pepper Porcelain Bottle Machine Metal Non Tin Button SignC.1940-1950's Aluminum Dr.pepper Frame With Dr.p Red Logo,17 X 26-3/4",39nrKevin Grubb Dr. Pepper/carroll Racing Race Used Pit Crew Shirt - XlVintage 1950's Dr Pepper Soda Pop Gas Station 18" Metal SignRare Claudia Firenze Vintage Dr.pepper Storefront Xl Leather Shopper HandbagDr Pepper Pocket Knife "be A Pepper" LogoVintage 1950's Dr Pepper Soda Pop 13" Porcelain Metal Sign~nice ConditionDr Pepper Embossed Cheveron Sign 1960'sDr Pepper Bottle Opener "starr" 1940'sVintage Metal Starr X Dr. Pepper Bottle Opener. 46. Check It Out.Custom Motorcycle Art Harley Davidson Rolling Wheels Moveable Handlebar Indian 1950's Dr Pepper Metal Advertising Thermometer Sign Hot Or Cold Coca Cola 2002 Flange Sign /pepsi Cola / Dr. Pepper /sun DropConestoga Wagon Santa Fe Trail Beverages Acl Soda Bottle Dr Pepper DenverDr. Pepper Wood Grain Clock Soda Pop Advertising Electric Clock 1930s Dr. Pepper Bottle--tyler, Texas--3 Rivers MfgVintage, Dr. Pepper, Vinyl SatchelCircle "a" Original Stock Certificate 1922 - Dr PepperVintage Dr Pepper 1972 Miami Dolphins Perfect Season/orange Bowl Souvenir BottleDr Pepper Porcelain Sign Soda Drink Candy Store Display Grocery Cola Be A PepperVintage 50's-60's Drink Dr Pepper Porcelain Sign - Soda - Pop - OriginalDr Pepper Salt Pepper Shaker S&p I'm A Pepper Salt Soda Pop Vintage Texas Logo Dr Pepper Patches Set Of Four DifferentDr. Pepper Diversion Can Safe First Alert Safe 'n DisguiseReduced Dr Pepper Vending Machine Will Ship After Purchase Buyers CostFeature Presentation Movie Night Theater Popcorn Stand Home Diner Cinema Lights1968 Dr Pepper Calendar Dr. Pepper Sign Plastic 34" W X 7" H New Old StockDr. Pepper Snack Bar Color Sound 35mm Intermission Tag Used Good Original BoxGenuine Dr. Pepper "billiken" Brass Watch Fob Circa 1910 - Good Luck GiveawayVintage Soda Pop Collectible 7up Dr. Pepper Drivers Advertising Large Work ShirtDr.pepper Baseball Style Cap HatOklahoma City Barons Hockey Dr Pepper Mascot DerrickCustom 1947 Chevy Hot Wheels Fleetline "dr Pepper" From Hw City Works 2012Looney Tunes Wile E Coyote Road Runner Beep Beep Plymouth Dodge Srt8 Hellcat 3921/24 Mark Green Bgn 1999 #50 Dr Pepper Action 2000 #63 Superflo Chevys Team CalWplj Salutes Dr Pepper Central Park Music Festival 1980 Todd Rundgren Pin ButtonLip Smacker Dr Pepper Cherry 7 Up A&w Rootbeer Soda Pop Flavored Balm Gloss TrioCoca Cola,dr Pepper BottlesNeon Clock Sign Retro Dr. Pepper Dr Soda Fountain Pop Garage Man CaveSuper Bee Emblem Metal Magnet Super Bird Dodge Ram Hemi Mopar Charger HellcatLot Of 200 Vintage Bottle Caps Used Variety Pepsi Coca-cola 7-up Dr. Pepper MoreVintage Dr Pepper Pencil Sharpener 1" Round #20Dr Pepper Candy Twists 5oz Retro Licorice Made With Real Dr Pepper Soda KennysDr Pepper Fishing Lure CollectibleDiet Dr Pepper Fishing Lure Collectible10 Slot Dr. Pepper Vending Machine