On September 1, 1906, T. M. Pepper sold the property of the Norton Bottling Company, including the bottling equipment, to Ferdinand Bert Kline, and leased Kline the building in which the company had been operating for two years at 245 Eighth Street.(1) On April 17, 1907 the Norton Ice Company is incorporated with L. O. Pettit of Big Stone Gap as President, George Jenkins as Vice President, and F. B. Kline as Secretary Treasurer.(7) Knowing that there is indeed a Norton Ice & Bottling Company Hutchinson bottle out there, I feel safe in speculating that the company that Kline established on the property purchased from Pepper was the Norton Ice Company, which also bottled soda like many ice companies of the time.

By January 1908, the ice plant part of the Norton Ice Company has been relocated to a building on Twelfth Street beside the railroad, and the Norton Bottling Company, which it is still named on the Sanborn map, is still located on at the Eighth Street location. During the early days of the bottling industry many were trying to capitalize upon the success of Coca-Cola, one of these was a brand mentioned in the Reports of the President's Homes Commission, which was published on January 8, 1909, obviously having been compiled earlier. That brand was Loco Kola which the book only notes as being from Norton, VA.(5) Knowing that there is no way that Jack Tarwater's Norton Coca-Cola Bottling Company would produce this imitator of their product themselves, and that T. M. Pepper wasn't bottling at this point, I can only speculate that it was F. B. Kline who created this Coca-Cola imitator.

On March 30, 1908 the Norton Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company was incorporated with F. B. Kline as President, G. D. Kilgore as Vice President, and G. C. Kline is Secretary Treasurer.(3) By 1910 Kline has changed the name to Norton Bottling Works.(4) By 1913 Kline has vacated the Eighth Street location having built a bottling addition onto the Norton Ice Company plant on Twelfth Street. He is still listed as a bottler in the Quarterly Report of the Dairy and Food Commissioner of Virginia for December 1914 through February 1915.(4) At the same time he is a stock holder in the Norton Coca-Cola Bottling Company, I guess he was hedging his bets. The F. B. Kline Corporation was created in March 1917,(6) and now Kline had control of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Norton, VA, and with that development the history of this company comes to a close.

Photo of the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Norton, VA

From the collection of Phillip A. Townsend, photo by owner
Hutchinson bottle from the Norton Ice & Bottling Company Norton, VA

Bottle from the Norton Bottling Works of Norton, VA

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(1) "The Heritage of Wise County and The City of Norton 1856-2001 Vol. 2" by The Wise County Historical Society

(2) "Reports of the President's Homes Commission" Printed on January 8, 1909

(3) American Bottler

(4) Report of the Dairy and Food Commissioner of Virginia

(5) Reports of the President's Homes Commission Jan. 8, 1909

(6) "Annual Report of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to the Governor and General Assembly of Virginia" published 1913 and 1918

(7) Daily Bulletin of the manufacturer's record April 17, 1907