A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 02, 2016
Fizzician

Soda jerks sometimes jocularly called themselves “fizzicians,” (fizz + physician). The jocular term was first cited in a May 1876 joke in The Daily Graphic (New York, NY) that was reprinted in many other newspapers:

“A young lady on being asked what business her lover was in, and not liking to say he bottled soda line, answered: ‘He’s a practising fizzician.’”

“Fountaineer” is another soda fountain position. The term “fizzician” never formally caught on, but has been used as a joke term for over a century.


23 May 1876, The Daily Graphic (New York, NY), pg. 687, col. 1:
A young lady on being asked what business her lover was in, and not liking to say he bottled soda line, answered: “He’s a practising fizzician.”

Chronicling America
28 July 1876, The True Northerner (Paw Paw, MI), “Wit and Humor,” pg. 6, col. 6:
A YOUNG LADY on being asked what business her lover was in, and not liking to say the bottled soda line, answered: “He’s a practising fizzician.”

Google Books
30 September 1876, The London Journal, pg. 222, col. 2:
A FIZZICIAN.—A young lady on being asked what business her lover was in, and not liking to say the bottled soda line, answered: “He’s a practising fizzician.”

6 July 1882, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “Humor,” pg. 10, col. 1:
A young woman in New York drank four glasses of soda-water in succession, and still did not have to call a fizzician.

Google Books
The Sanitary Era
Volume 4
1889
Pg. 64:
THE SMART YOUNG MAN said he had not been in the drug store very long, but he had been at the soda-fountain long enough to be fizzician. — Washington Critic.

Google Books
December 1929, Boys’ Life, “Think and Grin” edited by Francis J. Rigney, pg. 56, col. 3:
Fizz
FIZZ: Hey, Bill,did your brother get that job?
BILL: No, but he got. another job as a Fizzician.
JOE: What sort of a job is that?
BILL: Oh, you know, the fellow who does his stuff behind the soda fountain.

Google Books
Jokes, Puns, and Riddles
By David Allen Clark
Illustrated by Lionel Kalish
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1968
Pg. 21:
Soda Jerk — A licensed fizzician.

Google Books
Contemporary English
By Richard T. Maguire
Morristown, NJ: Silver Biurdett
1973
Pg. 297:
Fizzician, a second stage (the first being fountaineer) in the advance from soda jerk, was reported by PM [a former newspaper] in 1938.

Google Books
June 1978, Boys’ Life, “Think & Grin,” pg. 82, col. 2:
Daffynishion: Soda jerk — A licensed fizzician. — Jeff Ruffing, Menasha, Wis.

Google Books
Sundae Best:
A History of Soda Fountains

By Anne Cooper Funderburg
Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press
2002
Pg. 160:
Some industry publications promoted “fountaineer” and “fizzician” as occupational titles that sounded more professional, but neither caught on.

Google Books
Ice Cream Joe:
The Valley Dairy Story and America’s Love Affair with Ice Cream

BY Richard David Wissolik and Joseph E. Greubel
Latrobe, PA: Publications of the Saint Vincent College Center for Northern Appalachian Studies
2004
Pg. 79:
Joe E. Greubel gets more free publicity than any “fizzician” I know. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • Monday, May 02, 2016 • Permalink