This colorful Vess Cola “Contains No Caffein” embossed tin sign helps date the age of the sign with the 5 cent price notation. Soda was typically sold for a nickel from the late 1940’s through the late 1950’s. The sign is interesting because it was unusual for a soda at this time to not include caffeine, subsequently it is very difficult to find antique soda advertising items notating a lack of caffeine. I also find it interesting how the word “caffein” is spelled on the sign. The word caffein is missing the “e” at the end as it is typically spelled today, however it is also an accurate spelling variation. This particular Vess sign was found about a year ago at an estate farm auction from a family which used to one a small town grocery store. I can imagine this particular sign likely hung on the edge of their store similar to the Vess sign pictured here.
The colors on this sign are unusual for Vess as it does not incorporate their traditional green color, but instead uses a black, red, and white combination.
The Vess Soda company was founded in 1916 and was a soft drink brand manufactured in St. Louis, Mo. At that time they primarily distributed their products throughout the Midwest. The Vess trademark name came from the nickname of the original company founder, Sylvester Jones.
Another Vess beverage, Whistle Orange Soda was debuted in 1925. However, the Vess logo was on the other soda flavors. The company had a difficult time after the Stock Market Crash in 1929 and eventually was sold to Donald Schneebarger. Schneebarger promoted a brand new line of flavors that helped turn the Vess Soda company around. Vess is currently owned by Cott Beverages. Their advertising slogan is still “The Billion Bubble Beverage”.
Vess flavors include their main cola, cream sodas, fruit flavors, and its orange soft drink, Whistle. Vess-Up is their lemon-lime flavor.