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Sparkling Water

If you live in the 20th century, you may be aware of the stereotypical American “hipster.” They often wear beanies, ride fixed bikes, sport skinny jeans, and plague college towns. Their drink of choice? La Croix, flavored sparkling water that broke into mainstream consumption.

Though La Croix has existed since the 1980s, this kind of soda water beverage seems to have reached a recent new level of obsession for some reason. However, sparkling water existed before, and although it’s gone through different peaks of cultural relevance since the ‘90s, you may be surprised to find out that carbonated water was created all the way back in — you guessed it — the 1700s.


We’re going to take a look at the creation of carbonated water and how it’s been used up to the current day. Additionally, we’re going to look at different attitudes surrounding it through the ages. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.

Who Is Joseph Priestley?

For the good majority of the 18th century lived a man named Joseph Priestley. He was controversial for his time, receiving violent attacks due to his religious and political beliefs. He was originally a Preacher in the Church of England but came to reject Christ’s divinity and became a Unitarian. Even as a religious person, he supported the French and American Revolutions, which seemed dichotomous to some. His house and laboratory were destroyed in 1791 by angry mobs in response to his political stances.


On top of all of this thinking, Priestley found time to create carbonated water. He fused carbon dioxide with water as an experiment and introduced his findings to the world in the early 1770s. He first introduced it in a pamphlet called “Impregnating Water with Fixed Air.” “Fixed air” was used to describe the air obtained by placing a bowl of water over a beer vat. Due to these experiments, Priestly was one of the first scientists to ever discover oxygen, as chronicled in his piece “Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air,” which dates back to the 1770s.

Three Centuries of Evolution

Sparkling or carbonated water is everywhere you go. You get it at the bar. You can pick it up in mini fridges at your local grocery store. It’s something we take for granted and you probably drink it more than you’re even aware of. In an article Paste Magazine wrote about modern carbonated waters, they mentioned four types that have developed over the years that you’ve probably consumed in your lifetime:

●        Mineral Water

●        Seltzer

●        Club Soda

●        Tonic


A lot of those products may seem like recent inventions, but none of them came to the market overnight. Carbonated water may have been invented in the 1700s, but it wasn’t until the mid-late 1800s that the product innovation started taking shape toward what we know it as today, due to the creation of the Codd-neck bottle by a man named Hiram Codd. This became the template for all carbonated drink bottles, further popularizing the beverages — though it was initially intended for carbonated water.


This brings us to now. With innovations like the Codd-neck bottle, people had more reason to experiment with carbonated beverages, and the many forms of it we have now were developed. Through the popularization of soda and other carbonated beverages, carbonated water evolved and moved through the years to become a popular beverage in various forms.

The Effect It Has on Our World Now

There’s a bit of debate on whether or not sparkling water is actually good for you. Starting with the positive, the minerals in typical sparkling water have been known to aid with digestion problems and stomach pain. It is sometimes seen as a pushback against the obesity epidemic as a substitute for soda — though you have to be aware which ones are actually healthy for you. It has been said to fight obesity by taking the place of unhealthy soft drinks, so there’s a chance it could aid in our current obesity crisis.


Using and selling more water products actually begs the question of whether or not sparkling water is worth investing in. As explained in an infographic by Norwich University, it’s already looking like we’ll someday run out of drinking water. Rather than using water to create soft beverages, it may be a better idea to figure out how to consolidate it for future use.


Furthermore, some sparkling water drinks that are popularized, such as La Croix, aren’t so great for you like sparkling water is supposed to be. While some say it’s okay and that Seltzer can be good for you, others have pointed out that the “natural flavors” included in many sparkling water products, in addition to carbonation, can damage your teeth. Despite it being better than soda, it’s still not the greatest for you — and drinking normal water is the healthiest option. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t have it once in a while and enjoy this treat that’s been passed up from the 18th century!


What’s your favorite kind of sparkling water? Let us know in the comments below!


About the Author:
Frankie Wallace contributes to a wide variety of blogs and writes about many different topics, including politics and the environment. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho and is a recent graduate of the University of Montana.