Moxie Cola

QUESTION:  Which of the following is a generic version of the carbonated beverage Dr. Pepper?
A). Mr. Pig
B). Sir Spice
C). Dr. Cinnamon
D). Father Sip

There are always new items coming into the American Treasure Tour - proof positive that there are treasures all around us!  Many of them arrive without anyone on the blog team receiving notice. No news bulletins, no telegrams, no nothing. One day, we were on the tour and noticed something moving among our animated store displays that had never been there before. Oh sure, we questioned ourselves - there are so many pieces in the collection that maybe we just didn't notice it before. But how can you possibly not notice a little girl with a devilishly happy expression on her face as she pours herself some good ol' Moxie Cola? And so we investigated the source of her joy.

Moxie Cola, it turns out, is one of the oldest carbonated beverages currently in production in the United States. It doesn't have the nationwide distribution of a Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola or Pepsi-Cola, but it has been out there since 1876. Like all the early sodas, it began as a cure-all medicine - Moxie Nerve Food (honestly, that's what it was first called). It was developed by Dr. Augustin Thompson in Lowell, Massachusetts. The good doctor claimed it contained an extract from a rare South American plant, but Thompson never disclosed what it was. It is now known to be a gentian root, which is a common flavoring for bitters and may actually have some restorative abilities to it, although it is highly unlikely to prevent the ailments Thompson claimed it could: paralysis, softening of the brain, nervousness and insomnia. By the 1880's, Thompson was selling his Nerve Food in syrup form and in carbonated water, "a delicious blend of bitter and sweet, a drink to satisfy everyone's taste."

In the early twentieth century, President Calvin Coolidge admitted to a fondness for Moxie, and baseball great Ted Williams endorsed it on radio commercials. By the 1960's, Moxie became a favorite of Mad Magazine, and advertisements in the humor mag improved sales for a time. The company is no longer American owned, it is part of the Kirin Holdings Company of Japan, but it is still available in a limited region of the American northeast. We encourage you to go hunting for it and, if you find some, let us know. We would love to try it, too!

ANSWER:  A). Mr. Pig.  It is distributed through the Piggly Wiggly department stores, which are predominantly found in southern states.  Good luck finding it, as it can be a challenge to locate. And, if you do find it and decide to drink it, good luck again!

The Kinks - April 23, 2014

The American Treasure Tour blog is back to discussing the vinyl records that line the walls of the Music Room today, and we are very happy to focus on the English band The Kinks!  For over thirty years, the brothers Davies - Ray and Dave - led these critical darlings whose music has been widely hailed as some of the best and most innovative from the "British Invasion" that occurred in the 1960s.

The band's fist major hit was 1964's "You Really Got Me," which gave them international fame and enough leverage to explore their musical roots and create concept albums about British society, most notably The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, which was released in 1968, and theatrical performances like 1981's Give the People What They Want.  Although superior lyricists and musicians, the Davies and the Kinks never reached the levels of fame that other British Invasion bands did, most notably The Beatles.  The Greatest Hits compilation included in our collection was released in 1976, six years after their song about an awkward encounter at a bar, Lola, reached the top ten charts in both the United Kingdom and the United States.


Which of the following musical acts is not considered part of the British Invasion?

a)  The Who

b)  The Rolling Stones

c)  Dusty Springfield

d)  The Monkees

e)  Donovan

Answer Below


We here at the American Treasure Tour blog do what we can to keep our "History Today" section relevant and interesting.  That is why we feel it is our obligation to share with you all of the most important news of the past. Today, we are going to talk about two dietary landmark moments that shook both the United States and the world.  The first of these events occurred on this day in 1985.  It is difficult to imagine that there was a time when Coca-Cola was not the number one carbonated, caffeinated beverage consumed by the world's population, but it's true. By 1980, the sweeter Pepsi-Cola had taken over as biggest seller in soda (or pop, or soda pop, whatever you prefer).  So Coke decided to change things up in what turned out to be a marketing disaster.  Or did it?  The distribution of an entirely revamped soda they called New Coke caused many people to complain so loudly that the original formula, called Classic Coke, was brought back.  It must have made people realize they missed their old Coke, because sales of the original formula skyrocketed and put Coke back on top in what has been called the "Cola Wars."  It only took 77 days before Classic Coke was returned to the market after the introduction of New Coke, but those 77 days truly shook the world, and secured Pepsi as number two again.

Another landmark event happened seven years later when the amazingly, astoundingly successful American fast food chain McDonald's (which offers Coke products for its beverages, by the by) opened its first franchise in the Communist country of China.  It's true. Not only did this event prove to be a great day for Chinese kids who hankered Big Mac's and fries, but it also showed that McDonald's, the biggest restaurant chain in the United States, had enough confidence in American-Chinese relations to make an investment in the most populated country in the world.


Being that the American Treasure Tour is located in Pennsylvania, we simply HAVE TO acknowledge the only President of the United States born in our state - in 1791 - and grew up here.  (Dwight Eisenhower's retirement home is in Gettysburg, but he grew up in Abilene, Kansas) So, happy birthday, President James Buchanan! Unfortunately, Buchanan's four-year term came at a very difficult time for our country, and he did not handle things very well.  President from 1857 to 1861, Buchanan was in power as the country disintegrated over the slavery question.  In fact, seven states seceded at the end of his single term, between December 1860 and February 1861.  Their leaders were convinced that the man who would be replacing him in March, Abraham Lincoln, would strip them of their enslaved workers if given the opportunity. Buchanan helplessly watched all this happen, and gratefully returned to Wheatland, his home in Lancaster, PA upon Lincoln's inauguration.  Happy birthday, anyway!

We also celebrate the birth of one of the most-beloved child stars ever to grace the silver screen.  Born in 1928 and performing by the age of three, Shirley Temple became a bonafide movie star by the age of six in the popular film Bright Eyes.  Between 1935 and 1938, audiences flocked to her movies, where the precocious young actor danced and sang her way into the hearts of people hungry for a distraction from the Great Depression.  She made 24 films before her eleventh birthday, and retired from film at the age of twenty-two, after which she got involved in politics as an ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia, then as Chief of Protocol of the United States. Temple passed away just last month, at the age of 85, a talented and successful woman.

QUOTE:  [To Abraham Lincoln upon handing over the reigns of government]  If you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man indeed. - James Buchanan

Answer:  The Monkees.  They were the American answer to The Beatles.