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Soft Drinks Industry

Ginger Aley it's good for yer bellie

William J. P.Thomson
Aerated Waters, Medicated Potass, Soda Waters, Aromatic Ginger Ale, Lemonade, etc etc 
Manufacturer, Lemon Street. - Highest Award at the Exhibition of Industry and Art Aberdeen c.1885

William Hay & Sons Ltd

Aerated Water
One of the most popular drinks during the Victorian period was 'aerated water'. For 100's of years people had been drinking natural mineral waters for their healing powers. Towards the end of the 18th century, scientists discovered a way of artificially producing 'carbonised' mineral water by adding carbonic acid gas to water under pressure. 

The 1st machine for manufacturing 'aerated water' was developed by the Swedish Chemist Jacob Schweppe. In the 1790s his Company, Schweppes, based in London, was one of the 1st firms to produce bottled mineral water. 


Hay's Lemonade was a child's more exciting drink than the ubiquitous 'Corporation Watter' - it burst with texture on the palate and would run a'doon yer nose if it was shaken up to much before drinking - 'takkin a scouf' as it was known from its onomatopoeic sound issuing from the bottle neck when the lips released.  Hay's were the best marketed soft carbonated drinks and available in a number of regular flavours including Iron Brew.  They also sold Soda Water Syphons to the licensed trade.  Bottled prices included a deposit value to encourage their return for re-cycling in the factory after a hygienic washing - a source of income for eager kids who could gather abandoned empties up for redemption at sales points and the perhaps the purchase of another 'spleet new' filled bottle.

Syrup room of Hay's Lemonade Factory, with cola added to mixture; bottles on a conveyor belt, used bottles are cleaned, cream soda poured into bottle, lids screwed on, bottles labelled); woman smelling the used bottle tops – all sorts of strange fluids were often stored in lemonade bottles before they were returned for their deposit money hence the need to sniff the black moulded 'screwtop' bottle. 

Hay's Lemonade Factory (2 Videos)


The manufacture of soft drinks by William Hay & Sons (Aberdeen) Limited in the mid 1950s. Processes of syrup mixing and carbonation are followed through the factory. An advertising sequence at the end of the film features models chosen from the staff, who enjoy Sunfresh Squash in a cafe setting.

A. D. Fraser Hay, Works Manager Sinclair Milne; Works Joiner George Milne; Works Electrician James Boyle; Works Engineer Frank Wright.  Ladies of the staff included Maureen Burns, Mary Robertson, Molly Farquhar, Ella Craig


William Hay & Sons (Aberdeen) Ltd were prime processors of all types of Aerated Water. Their premises at 14 Berryden Road, where a hive of activity would involve Unloading and Sorting of Empties, from Hay's branded lorries backing into factory for imminent re-loading, Hay's crates of bottles stacked in the yard; unloaded and sorted. De-stoppering of Bottles by the Machine Women working on a clear bottle assembly line.  A Hydro Bottle Washing Machine scoured the returned bottles for re-use. Bottles are washed by means of high pressure jets of water internally and externally; and steaming dark or clear bottles are ejected from the machine.


"Syruping Machine" Bottles are filled with a set amount of concentrated syrup (of various flavours) and the bottles are filled by a revolving automatic machine

"Carbonating Machine" In this machine bottles with syrup receive a charge of water and CO2 from a tall metal cylinder;  "The Xpelaire" Automatic Carbonator 


"Mixing Machine" Bottles are shaken up in order to mix syrup, water and CO2, and following capping would be forwarded for labelling.


 "Automatic Labelling Machine" machine in action


"Tightening Stoppers" women working on production line with an endless supply of bottles on production line, female workers placed the bottles under labeller.  The stoppers were made of a kind of bakelite with a red rubber ring seal which was useful to kid for toys.


"Filling and Labelling Syphons" man wearing protective mesh shield on his face places siphons into the machine; for corbonation by the Xpelaire; A female worker places seal packaging on siphon heads and is gluing on Hays labels; She checks the bottles, holding them upside down for subsequent filling.


Filling Bottles with Sunfresh Orange and Bottles of Aerated Squash are Labelled, the bottles are closed with a hand cranked press and then wrapping of the Orange Squash in Cellophane individually as an upmarket product.  In the Syrup Room different ingredients are mixed in large vats including colouring from a glass measuring beaker; 2 pails of differently coloured liquids flavouring and colouring are emptied into the vat. 


in the Sunfresh poster; a female model holds up the product; "Sunfresh" Orange Squash, smiling brightly; A display of oranges and bottles of squash, surrounded by promotional material was featured. The preparing of real oranges for manufacture of "Sunfresh" Orange with two female workers removing peel from the top and bottom of each fruit prior to squeezing.  Extracting the Juice from Oranges a male worker would assemble the parts of the juicer, adding water and stoppers to the bottle plugs it in.  Oranges are steamed for hygiene and the fruits are added to the juicer; the juice is drained and a man adds colouring to the vat of juice. 

Bottling and Labelling "Sunfresh" Orange.  The ladies would sample and enjoy "Sunfresh"  served in a "cafe", which they enjoy with their chocolates by a staged display of the various bottled products on offer with accompanying boxes of Biscuits and Smiths crisps as regular companions. You were cordially invited to inspect Hayes works at any time.


Celebrated Aerated Waters,
Ginger Ale. Lemonade. Ginger Beer. Sherbet. Lemon Squash. Ginger Champagne. Lemon Champagne. Kola Champagne.
Soda Water. Potass Water. Seltzer Water. Lithia Water. Sparkling Kola. Genuine Brewed Ginger Beer. Hay's Hop Ale. Lime Juice.
Unfermented Fruit Wines and Cordials.
Our Latest Speciality : HAY'S DAZZLE Beer

Our Waters are to be had in Patent or Corked Bottles, and
Syphons, from all Grocers, Restaurants, Hotels, etc.
Standard Mineral Water Works, College Street, Aberdeen,



Bon-Accord Soft Drinks were competitors and their carbonation was of a higher pressure which detracted from the flavour.

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Last modified: 01/09/2013