Bastian-Blessing Superior Soda Fountains
The Bastian-Blessing Company was started by Charles Bastian and Lewis Blessing. They were employees of the Liquid Carbonic Company that had been founded by Jacob Baur in 1888. Liquid Carbonic had been the first midwestern company that produced liquefied carbon dioxide for making soft drinks. Bastian and Blessing left the Liquid Carbonic in 1908 and started their own company, where they manufactured soda fountains.
The Bastian-Blessing corporate offices and factory were based in Chicago, Illinois. A second factory was located in Grand Haven, Michigan from 1910 until 1988. In addition, they had a showroom that was located in NYC. They started a new division called RegO in 1918 that manufactured gas-welding equipment. Today Bastian-Blessing operates under the RegO name. But in its heyday, Bastian-Blessing was not only one of the earliest manufacturers of soda fountains, but the finest.
These photos are from a vintage 1940 company brochure featuring the “Superior Fountain” product line. The soda fountains were made of solid steel construction. They had completely mechanical refrigeration, eliminating brine and water baths that were used on earlier models to keep the ice cream and drinks cold. The brochure claimed these units were “sanitary” and were designed to help you “reap greater profits than ever before”. Most of all, though, the soda fountains were very beautiful.
In the brochure, the company spotlighted select restaurants, like the Rainbow Restaurant in Portland Oregon (above). The clean, wood finish of the soda fountain fits in very well with the Art Deco design of the Restaurant’s exterior. And note the Dole Junior soda dispenser on the counter.
The next page shows the Superior Fountain at S. H. Kress & Co. in San Antonio, Texas. The stools are covered in red Spanish leather and on the walls are scenes depicting historic San Antonio. There’s also an architectural drawing showing the floor plan and layout of the soda fountain.
Marble tops were available for the soda fountain counters. The sleek, modern style of these fixtures is an art form of a bygone era.
Additional styles in wood or porcelain on steel were also available. They vary from Art Deco, to Neoclassical to Native American, and they are all striking.
There were also different backbar options for the soda fountains. With the mirrors and glass they make quite an overall statement.
There are still many shops today that have an original Bastian-Blessing counter. It would be worth trying to find an example in your area. If you find one, we’d love to see pics and hear your story!