The first soda bottling company we know of in Bristol was the J. W. Waynick Steam Bottling Works. John Wesley Waynick was born in Caswell County, North Carolina on September 28, 1862.(2) John moved with his parents to Rockingham County, North Carolina, and from there moved to Greensboro, North Carolina in 1887.(2) He arrived in Bristol, Tennessee in March 1890(2) and established his steam bottling works on Fourth Street somewhere near Cumberland Street next to the Annex Saloon.(1) He had already been bottling in North Carolina, most likely Greensboro, prior to his moving to Bristol.(2)

On the night of March 18, 1891 a fire broke out behind the Moore & Burke's bar building near the Annex Saloon on Fourth Street, and quickly spread to the building immediately next to the Annex Salon which housed J. W. Waynick’s Steam Bottling Works.(1) Waynick's building was completely destroyed with an estimated cost of $3,000.(1) The fire continued on to destroy the brick building occupied by the bar room and pool parlor of Hyderpool & Collins, and continued on to J. T. Powell & Company’s grocery store whose building was saved, but lost a good deal of his stock.(1) Waynick takes the insurance money from the fire and re-establishes his business on Virginia Avenue beside the Diamond Ice Company.(3)

Through ads from the period we find that he was bottling Grapine, a temperance drink produced by the Gleason Fruit Juice Company of Ripley, New York, Ginger Ale, Cider, and "all kinds of Pop".(3) He was also the sole distributing agent in Bristol for the Chattanooga Brewing Company, as well as The Bergner & Engel Brewing Company of Philadelphia, PA, and The Schlitz Brewing Company from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.(3) Waynick registered a trademark on March 7, 1893 which depicted a world globe with a crown placed upon it, with the word Waynick as part of the crown, and "Corona" to one side of it.(7) They claimed use since 1892, and it was used on both his soda and beer lines.(7)

On April 14 1895 the Roanoke Times repeated a blurb from the Bristol Harold Courier which announced that J. W. Waynick had become general agent for the Virginia Brewing Company of Roanoke, VA to areas outside of Roanoke proper.(4) He was receiving their "famous beer" in carload lots to be distributed in Bristol through Mr. C. R. Scharf, of the Bristol Bottling Works.(4) That fact is interesting, because I have found references to J. W. Waynick being associated with "Bristol Bottling Works" in two different non-Bristol newspapers. The first two are in the Big Stone Gap Post, the first on May 17, 1894 when he was visiting that town on business.(5) The second on August 23, 1894 when he was passing through on his return from a business trip to Cincinnati Ohio.(5) The last two are from the Roanoke Times April 4, 1895 which reads, "J. W. Waynick proprietor of Bristol Bottling Works was in town yesterday", and an April 18, 1895 mention which says essentially the same thing.(4) In every instance Bristol Bottling Works was capitalized, so they were referring to a company name rather than any Bristol bottling works.

The early history of the Bristol Bottling Works is filled with unknowns, and we aren't completely sure what happened as early sources are sketchy at best. The last advertising I have found for J. W. Waynick Steam Bottling Works is from October 27, 1891.(3) That coupled with the instances he is noted as being proprietor of Bristol Bottling Works in two non-Bristol newspapers, and the direct mention of C. R. Scharf, is making me start to think that maybe J. W. Waynick Steam Bottling Works, and Bristol Bottling Works, are different incarnations of the same company. Most likely J. W. Waynick and C. R. Scharf are partners in the Bristol Bottling Works, since competitors wouldn't be so keen to help one another by selling the same beer.

By May 10, 1895 J. W. Waynick has moved to Roanoke, VA (4), and was still working for The Virginia Brewing Company by 1902.(2) His interests started expanding soon after. In 1903 he opened the Roanoke Automobile Company with his son J. W. Waynick Jr, they went through eighteen different makes, including Ford in 1909, until finally deciding to become an exclusive Cadillac dealer in 1911.(9) He also became involved in the 1905 purchase of the Davis Mineral Spring with intent of marketing Lithia water for curative purposes.(6) In 1906 we find him as Secretary Treasurer of The Casper Company of Roanoke, VA, incorporated on April 24, 1906 (8), which distributed whisky for the Casper distillery in Winston-Salem, NC. Of all of these the most successful was the Roanoke Automobile Company which became the Waynick Cadillac Company by 1921. John Wesley Waynick died on March 2, 1929, and is buried in Roanoke Burial Park Roanoke VA.

Incorporated into this structure is the second location of J. W. Waynick Steam Bottling Works on Virginia Ave.

Waynick's trademark

From the collection of Tommy Fouch, photo by Joseph Lee
A hutchinson Bottle from J. W. Waynick Steam Bottling Works. This bottle would have been the type used to bottle sodas.

From the collection of Ralph Van Brocklin, photo by Joseph Lee
A blob top Bottle from J. W. Waynick Steam Bottling Works. This bottle would have been the type used to bottle beer.

an ad from J. W. Waynick's bottling works April 14, 1891.

an ad from J. W. Waynick's bottling works October 27, 1891.

Waynick-Cadillac Company

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(1) Herald and Tribune Jonesborough Tennessee

(2) History of Roanoke County, Salem, Roanoke City, Virginia and Representative Citizens 1734-1900 Edited and Compiled by William McCauley 1902

(3) Bristol Harold Courier

(4) The Roanoke Times

(5) Big Stone Gap Post

(6) The American Bottler

(7) Official gazette of the United States Patent Office

(8) Annual Report of the Virginia State Corporation Commission 1907

(9) Automobile Trade Journal 1924