In 1959, the Niagara Frontier Bottling Association took out an ad to remind Western New York’s children to bug their parents about returning soft drink bottles promptly.
The Niagara Frontier Bottling Association had 21 members, including the giant names of Coca-Cola, Pepsi and 7-Up, but also much smaller local operations like Visniak, Queen-O and Oscar’s. Just as breweries offered home delivery for committed patrons, many pop bottlers would also drop off soda by the case at your doorstep.
“Ask mother to let you return them and collect the cash deposits,” says the caption next to the happy boy and girl pulling a wagon filled with pop-bottle gold.
Luckily for us nearly 60 years later, not everyone heeded that “bring the bottle back” advice – and many of the classic bottles from long-gone pop makers are still kicking around.
Len Mattie and his wife, Nancy Abramo, run the Parkside Meadow Restaurant. Throughout the classic neighborhood corner tavern, Mattie has displayed what is possibly Western New York’s largest public collection of local pop bottles – among them most of the brand names mentioned in the ad.
Here are some of those bottles as displayed inside the Parkside Meadow: