mmm ... fizzy water.
June 29, 2008 4:47 AM   Subscribe

Cool-lookin' soda siphons. Where to find?

I've recently begun enjoying the wonder and deliciousness that is the homemade soda-water drink, and am now interested in purchasing a siphon. I've seen the iSi models, which are okay, but what I'm really looking for is a cool, interesting, retro-looking (to go with the retro-feel) yet still functional soda siphon.
I remember seeing a siphon companion to this years ago at (I believe) a Crate & Barrel, but no longer. It seems to have been made by a company called Kovočas, but aside from the pictured shaker and a siphon on eBay Österreich, I've not had much luck. (Found this, but alas, I don't read Czech.)

So, hivemind, any recommendations for where to find Kovočas siphons in particular, or siphons of interesting design in general (including vintage, if they take currently manufactured cartridges)? Bonus points for N. America, but willing to do some work to obtain if necessary.
posted by the luke parker fiasco to Shopping (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I have a Kovocas siphon, and you're entirely correct. They do (or did) make wire-mesh wrapped siphons both in the traditional cylindrical and less-common spherical models. Mine was purchased about ten years ago, though, and they're no longer carried by the vendor I purchased it from. Which is a pity, because I've got a leaky gasket that needs replacing (and I can't figure out which gasket it is).

I can tell you that sells replacement parts for the Kovacas line, but as you'll see from that link, the bottles themselves "are not currently being manufactured," and the heads are unavailable, which suggests that Kovacas isn't in the siphon business any more.

any recommendations for where to find... siphons of interesting design in general (including vintage, if they take currently manufactured cartridges)

Vintage models inevitably suffer from gasket-rot—the CO2 tends to make the rubber brittle, I gather—so even if compatible cartridges were available (and I think they were standardized by the 50s, for the most part, so they should be the same) your concern would be that all the seals still held pressure, which is, in my experience, a near-impossibility.

Anyway, I feel your pain. iSi does not make particularly aesthetic siphons, yet they do seem to be one of the only games in town. I know I've occasionally seen others of modern manufacture, but none were of a quality worth remembering.
posted by mumkin at 5:27 AM on June 29, 2008

The place I've found with the largest selection is Prairie Moon - they primarily sell soda flavorings, but they also sell soda siphons and seltzer bottles. I've only dealt with them for soda flavorings, though.

I have a Soda Club seltzer setup myself - proprietary cartridges, odd looking dispensers and all, but it works well, there's a dealer close by, and all in all, it's not that expensive.
posted by bemis at 6:11 AM on June 29, 2008

How about THIS ONE
posted by Mr_Chips at 6:30 AM on June 29, 2008

The neatest one I ever saw had similar parts to the one labelled 1888 here. The top screws onto a glass bottle using a thread that comes away in two sections. It was so beautifully made and very very cool. I don't even drink soda water but I pine for it often. So cool. Got it from a 2nd hand shop for a few bucks.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 1:53 AM on June 30, 2008

mu~ha~ha~ha~har: that would be a returnable commercial seltzer bottle, meant for distribution and reuse by the seltzer man back in the day. You can't refill them yourself without some serious equipment, depicted a bit further down that page. Though in that vein...

I suppose if the luke parker fiasco is a bay-area fiasco, The Seltzer Sisters' delivery service might be the ticket to never-ending fizzy bliss. If in Brooklyn, Walter Backerman is widely known as the last New York seltzer man standing. I'm pretty sure that I've read of one or two other bottlers plying the time-honored trade in that fuzzy area between the coasts, too, but this is veering OT.

Again, I would advise against pinning your hopes on a vintage model like Mr_Chips points to. I have five or six old siphons that I've bought over the years and none of them proved capable of holding a charge... I wouldn't care for your odds of getting something functional as well as decorative. You could try to make new gaskets out of a silpat sheet or something—I've considered it, but the tight tolerances needed to ensure a good seal have kept me from attempting it to date.
posted by mumkin at 11:26 AM on June 30, 2008

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