Sunday, December 10, 2017

Henry Winkle.... Soda Man

A Brief History

 Johann Heinrich Winkel arrived in the United States in 1840. He spent 3 years in New York City before moving to Florida and engaged in the baking business.
Winkle ran a bakery and hotel in Florida prior to leaving for California in 1849. Arriving in California in 1850 he went into a partnership with a fellow named Skinner starting the California Bakery on 2nd street in Sacramento
 1850 Sacramento Daily Union advertisement

The partnership only lasted until November of 1850 and sometime after the November date Winkle went into business at the Auction Saloon. In the following clipping from the Sacramento Daily Union Winkle removes himself from any connection with the Auction Saloon.

September 3, 1852 Sacramento Daily Union newspaper 

Henry Winkle Sac City soda bottle
Image courtesy Mike Rouse

After divesting himself from the Auction Saloon Winkle starts a soda water business in Sacramento and places an order for soda bottles with his name embossed in the glass.
In November of the same year the great fire of Sacramento destroys 55 blocks of Sacramento including 1,776 buildings and displaces over 7000 people. Henry Winkle’s soda water business was one of the casualties.

As soon as the ashes were cold, from the great fire, Winkle starts construction on two brick buildings on K street in Sacramento while running his soda business near the Sacramento levy on J street. On December 31, 1852 a rain storm hit the Sacramento area that lasted several days and flooded the city and Winkle’s business. At this point Winkle might have continued his soda business but must have been low on cash and his failure to pay off a loan for $1200 resulted in the Sheriff seizing his property to settle the unpaid loan.
Clipping from Sacramento Daily Union September 1853 
( 1000 dozen soda bottles for sale...where are they? - rs - ) 

 On October 14, 1853 the Sheriff sold the Winkle soda water business and machinery consisting of:
One table with bottle machinery attached
Three soda fountains with pipes attached
One rotary pump and pipe
Three large tin cans
5,000 soda bottles, more or less
 In January of 1854 Henry Winkle left Sacramento and traveled to San Francisco to open a bakery business.

The reverse of the Henry Winkle soda bottle with the XX embossed in the glass
Image courtesy Mike Rouse
The Winkle soda bottles were manufactured prior to any glass houses in San Francisco and could have been manufactured by the Lancaster Glass Works.
Eric McGuire- Bottles & Extra’s September 2010
Sacramento Daily Union -various
Mike Rouse - Western Bottle collectors postings


  1. Nice article Rick, always fun to learn a bit of history about the proprietor and the product!

  2. Rick;
    Yet another well done article. Well researched and interesting.

    Since the sixties, I was always a kinda meat 'n taters collector of western whiskies and bitters. I've recently renewed my enthusiasms for better western bitters.

    Lately, thanks to your enthusiasm and posts, I've broadened my horizons. Yep, back to the western bitters side of things (returning to my youth) and now into gold rush era sodas and related artifacts.

    All good, no great! Thanks for relighting the fire!


    1. Bruce, Thanks for the help on the directories
      Couldn't do this without them