The Richmond History Podcast

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Want Some Juice

Thomas Bramwell Welch

A battle was wage in the temperance movement of the 19th century amongst some churches about the meaning of the word "wine" in the bible.  Some then and now think that there are two words for wine in the bible, one that means the bad/alcoholic wine and one that means good/non alcoholic wine and that Jesus didn't drink bad/alcoholic wine nor did he make water turn into bad/alcoholic wine.  A dentist and deacon of a Methodist church was taken by these tea totaling ideas.  He was also taken by, and studied the methods of sterilizing liquids discovered by Louis Pasture.  These methods were applied to grapes to rediscover this good/non alcoholic wine.  In 1869, the Methodist deacon named Thomas Bramwell Welch (1825-1903) introduced his new Welch's Nonintoxicating Wine to his church and started to sell it to other churches concerned about performing communion with intoxicating wine. 1  He started out in New Jersey, and because of some problems with  his vineyards, he moved to New York. Thomas' son, Dr. Charles E. Welch took this new beverage to the Chicago's words fair in 1893 as Welch's Grape Juice. 2
The first Farris Wheel at the 1893 World's Fair


The 1893 World's fair was held for the 400th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in this hemisphere* and also featured the first Ferris Wheel presented by George Farris, neon lights, hamburgers, Juicy Fruit Gum, Hershey's Chocolate, the zipper and a belly dance that became know as "The Hoochie Coochie Dance**.3

I wonder how many people that walked around that fair thought that we would still have all of those things.  I can't even imagine having never seen a zipper.  Crazy to think about.  What a world of wonder.  More about that later.



*We should all know by now that Columbus wasn't the first European to get to the Americas, he was just the last that got here and said he was the first.

** To read more about the Hoochie Coochie Dance click number 3 below.



1. Song of the Vines: A History of Wine, Thomas Pinney, Cornell Univery, Cornell Cast
2. http://www.welchsinternational.com/resources/timeline.shtml
3. http://www.mortaljourney.com/2010/11/all-trends/hoochie-coochie-dance




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