(Last update: April 5, 2016 - added 1948 Bottler Listing & Count and more about recipe)
NOTE: This page is a work in progress. The author
appreciates any additional information you may have regarding
the history of Nesbitt's
The Nesbitt Fruit Products Company was founded in 1924 by Hugh S. Nesbitt. The company produced syrups to be used in soda fountains. The company produced a full line of fountain products through the years including various fruit flavors to be mixed with soda water, toppings for ice cream, including chocolate, hot fudge, crushed pineapple and strawberrys, and, a hot chocolate base. They also marketed branded dispensers and other fountain supplies (see 1959 fountain list).
1927 the company began producing Nesbitt's
On February 1, 1948 there were 297 Franchise Bottlers serving 45 of the 48 states plus Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Aruba and Mexico. Click here to see list that was distributed to regional sales representatives at the time.
The back of the bottles had the following slogan:
Nesbitt Fruit Products Company was sold to Clorox in 1972. The following is the Clorox Chronology:
July 1972: The Clorox Company acquires, in exchange for 161,894 shares of Clorox stock, Nesbitt Food Products, Inc. Nesbitt manufactures a variety of specialty food products for soda fountain service and operates a franchise bottling business for the consumer market.
March 1973: The Food Service Industries Group is organized and consists of five profit centers, including Nesbitt Franchise Bottling, which manufactures and markets a full line of fruit-flavored soft drinks through a network of more than 200 franchised bottlers.
1975: The Nesbitt Franchise
Bottling operation is sold to Moxie Industries, Inc., of
1975: Independent contract manufacturers begin production of Nesbitt
beverage concentrates, syrups and other specialty fountain products for
Clorox Food Service Operations. The Nesbitt Franchise Bottling plant in
March 1976: The plant, land, machinery and equipment of Nesbitt Food Products, Inc., are sold.
June 1976: Nesbitt Food Products, Inc., is merged into The Clorox Company and ceases to exist as a separate company.
1999: Big Red, Ltd of Waco, Texas acquires Nesbitt's brands from the Monarch Company in Atlanta.
The Nesbitt's Trademark has had the following history since then:
Nesbitt's is US trademark of:
My grandfather, B. R. Murphy, joined the company in 1926 and became operations manager. He served as President from 1933-1938 while Mr. Nesbitt took a leave to work for Goebel Brewing in
A 1947 magazine ad described Nesbitt's Orange as:
"Nesbitt's is made from juice of Califonia Valencia Oranges -- flavor of orange peel, citric acid from lemon juice, sugar, pure water, and a refreshing dash of carbonation."
The contents listed on a 1950’s era Bottler’s Beverage Base 1 gallon jug are listed as: “Made from concentrated orange juice, citric acid, 3.2% benzoate of soda, artificial color, orange oil, brominated vegetable oil, erythorbic acid and gum acacia.” The bottlers were instructed to add “Bottler’s grade cane or beet sugar,” water and carbonation. It also has the caution: “Do Not Add Any Additional Preservatives.” (this paragraph added April 5, 2016).
Click on the following links for some additional history:
Nesbitt’s Orange Soda: Bright Star Went Black, Now Twinkles Dimly
U.S. Government Alleged Base for Nesbitt’s Orange Adulterated
Nesbitt's Orange Wikipedia Page
Marilyn Monroe was a model for Nesbitt's Orange in 1946.
Click for larger view added 1/1/2008
Nesbitt's Orange was the "Official Orange Drink" for Disneyland from the time it opened in 1955 into the 1960's. It was the only orange drink sold in the Park.
Click for larger view added 1/1/2008
It is said that Elvis Presley loved Nesbitt's Orange. "He always had the weirdest eating habits I ever saw," a friend was quoted as saying at the time (1960's). "Burnt bacon, olives, vegetable soup and peanut-butter and banana sandwiches." He'd wash all this down with Pepsi or Nesbitt's Orange soda."(source link)
Nesbitt's was the sponsor of an early television show in Los Angeles called "Ricky and the Magic Trolley." It was a puppet show that was done circa 1952-1953. I remember going to the set with my grandfather when I was 6 or 7 years old along with my two younger sisters. We went to do a live TV commercial with a couple of other kids who were the daughters of the Nesbitt ad agency guy. It was in the same studio as "Space Patrol," one of my favorite TV shows at the time. I was thrilled to sit in the cockpit of the space ship. The Ricky puppet show set was raised off the floor so the pupeteers could stand up under it. When I stood on a box and looked over the top edge of the set a real snake that was in a little pond on the set popped it's head up out of the water right in front of my face and I fell back off of the box. That same night us kids did a live TV commercial for Nesbitt's. On cue we were all supposed to take swig of Nesbitt's Orange and then say "uuum good." I remember my sister blowing the cue by doing it too early. I remember the images from that day vividly. Click here to see postcards that were sent to fans who wrote the show. Thanks to Gary Frank for sharing these with me.
In 1957, the "Nesbitt's Orange Special" dragster set 1/4 Mile speed Record of 9.445 seconds (159.02 mph). It is believed that this was the first "commercially sponsored" dragster.
Click on the link below to listen to the song:
(added 1/1/08 with permission of Negativland).
This page is maintained by Tom Scott, grandson of B.R. Murphy, President of Nesbitt Fruit Products Company from 1943 to 1959.