A sharp-eyed Gary Fonville found an old 7-Up sign, as well as the word “Midget,” in back of a newer vinyl awning on East Tremont Avenue in Westchester Square recently. The mind wanders about what the older store was called with the word “midget,” but these 7-Up signs, advertising the lemon-lime carbonated drink, were once all-pervasive around town, as frequently found as the Coca Cola signs.
The drink was formulated in 1929 by Charles Leiper Grigg in St. Louis as the Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda. The name implies that it once contained lithium citrate, used in the mood-stabilizing drug, which remained part of the recipe until 1948. The origins of the name “7-Up” are unclear but there are several theories: The “7” could come from the seven main ingredients in the drink, while a more outrageous one claims that the “7” referred to the lithium because the element’s atomic mass is 7.