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THE E L KERNS CO.
Trenton, NJ.

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The E.L Kearns Co. was a bottling company. Edgar Lewis Kerns was born in PA in 1861. After working in the coal mines as a youth, he moved to Trenton NJ and into the employ of John Schroth, a bottler, and learned the art of soda making. In 1889 he set up in business on his own, taking over an old butchery in the rear of 122 Rose Street. His wife Mary would wash bottles while he and his brother-in-law Ed would travel around town taking orders. At night, they used prepared extracts to make and bottle the soda to be delivered the next day. They embraced the slogan "quality wins" and by 1896 had become successful enough to put up a four storey building at 302 N Broad. About the same time, brother-in-law Ed married and left the partnership and the E.L. Kerns Bottling Company was born. They adopted the E.L.K. initials and the elks head as a trademark, as seen on the glass. By the 1890s they had expanded into beer, wine and liquors. Whiskey was not a big part of their business but they did bottle several brands, including Elk Ridge Rye , made by Ulman Einstein Co. in Cincinnati and shipped to Trenton to be bottled. Shotglasses bearing the EUCo monogram were given out as a premium for returning empties to the bottling Co. (from Frank E. Bush, Following the trail of the E.L.K., OBM 1974.)

Business name timeline:
The E L Kerns Co.

Address timeline:
302 N Broad



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