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I Remember Those! Soda Siphons

Posted on Oct 07, 2011 by Paul Tiernan

When watching the 1970’s BBC version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (a more subtle, engrossing version of the tale than the current film in our view) the Savvy chaps were delighted to spot a soda siphon nestling on a sideboard during a particularly tense scene. This led to considering things/objects/stuff/thingamajigs which are wonderful but that you just don’t see much anymore.

The soda siphon (also spelled syphon), also known as the seltzer bottle or syphon seltzer bottle, began life as early as 1829, when two Frenchmen patented a hollow corkscrew which could be inserted into a soda bottle and, by use of a valve, allowed a portion of the contents to be dispensed while maintaining the pressure on the inside of the bottle and preventing the remaining soda going flat. They were very popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Our favourite use of the soda siphon is by Jeeves to make Mr. Wooster’s brandy and soda, with a close second being the Three Stooges’ use of the siphon in as many silly ways as possible.

The rise of bottled carbonated beverages and the destruction of many of the siphon manufacturers' plants in Eastern Europe during World War II led to a decline in their popularity in the years after the war. Incredibly, they are still available as pre-filled siphons in Argentina, Vienna, and Canada.

PS. We still rather enjoyed the current film, though: entertaining and visually beautiful.


  • As delightful and as anachronistic as pocket watches, almost as beautiful, and a reminder of how much nicer certain aspects of life were a while back.

    Posted by Alan

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