The L stands for Louis Steinberger. His business was listed in every Jersey City directory I can find between 1883 and 1925. The directories listed his occupation as either mineral water or soda with an address of anywhere between 496 and 502 Pavonia Avenue. According to his obituary in the March 14, 1933 issue of the Plainfield N.J. Courier News, he served as president of the Steinberger Beverage Company up until his death in 1933.
The February 15, 1904 Issue of the American Carbonator and American Bottler referenced him as a manufacturer of all kinds of mineral waters, root beer in fountains, fruit syrups and extracts.
He apparently was the local bottler for regional/national brands as well. The American Carbonator item stated that he was the sole agent in Jersey City for Sheboygan Mineral Water and he was the local Jersey City bottler for Ward’s “Orange (and Lemon) Crush.” This is confirmed in several “Orange Crush” advertisements printed in the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” between June and August of 1920.
Apparently his directory advertisements didn’t change much over the years. The advertisement on the right is from the 1893 directory, the one on the right is from 1922.
The business appeared to be a small, family run affair. Some directories listed Louis’s residence as 502 Pavonia Avenue with the business address at 496 or 498 Pavonia Avenue. So he probably lived adjacent to the business. The 1910 census records listed Louis’s occupation as the proprietor of a mineral water manufacturing business. His sons Louis Jr. and Claude were listed as superintendent and wagon driver respectively.
By 1920, Louis Jr.’s occupation was listed as “manager, soda factory” and Claude was “salesman, soda company,” but it wasn’t until 1925 that the sons were reflected in their Jersey City directory advertisements.
The business continued into the late 1930’s and possibly early 1940’s. The 1930 and 1940 census records listed Claude as “treasurer, beverage industry” and “salesman, beverage manufacturer” respectively. In addition, advertisements for Steinberger Beverages were prevalent from 1934 to 1936 in the Courier News. Most involved Steinberger Beverages association with the Plainfield Courier-News Cooking School.
The end date of the business is not clear, but I don’t see any advertisements for Steinberger Beverages in the 1940’s.
According to Zillow.com, 502 Pavonia Avenue is a single family home built in 1877. This fits with the directories that list 502 Pavonia as Louis Steinberger’s residence. Today, the building at 496 Pavonia Avenue appears to be a renovated four-story walk-up that’s been converted to apartments. It could also date back to the business.
Steinberger obtained a patent for his bottle design on November 14, 1922 although he was apparently using similar designs as far back as the late 1800’s. (There are examples of mouth-blown bottles with blob finishes on the Internet.)
The bottle I found is machine made and similar in design to the patented design although it’s missing the double ring at the base of the neck that’s shown on the plans.
Steinberger also obtained a patent for the trademark “With The Taste That Tempts.” Trademark 210,660 was registered on March 16, 1926 but the documents indicate that it had been continuously used in the business since January 15, 1915. Note that the phrase was used in the 1925 advertisement shown above.