Poland Water Price List, Cover, ca. 1906

Packaging and
Marketing of

The first broadside advertisement for Poland Water was printed in 1860, and as the reputation of the water as a medicinal agent grew, so did the sales and marketing reach of the Poland Mineral Springs.  

Inside the Barreling House
ca. 1870 [80?]

(Poland Past and Present, 1795-1970)

"Sales began by the barrel, although delivery by the jug continued within wagon distance of the spring. In 1860 resident sales Agents were set up in Boston with orders coming in from the South and as far west as California. Ship captains were storing it on board for long journeys and faddists came to the spring itself. In two years sales increased from one 3 gallon demijohn to 1,000 barrels. By 1895...Poland Water would be known the world over...with shipments to thirteen foreign ports. Many steamship lines used Poland Water exclusively."
(Poland Bicentennial 1795-1995)

"When tapping the casks, use a 3/8 bit and a pine spile, as most all the faucets spoil the taste of the Water."
(Pamphlet, Poland Mineral Spring Water, 1878)

Receipt for 1/2 Barrel
of Poland Water
September 19, 1884

Poland Spring
"Honeymoon" Moses Bottle

For the grand opening of the new Poland Spring House, in 1876, the Rickers introduced the unusual Moses Bottle, which continued to be the symbol of Poland Spring beverages well into the 1970's.  The bottles were manufactured by the Salem Glass Works of Salem, New Jersey, and were made in several colors (clear, aqua, amber, and green) and quart, pint, and one-cup sizes.

"These bottles...were filled and given as souvenirs to the hotelmen and others who attended.  It has never been made clear which of the Rickers so aptly chose the figure to hold the great water, but old letters, etc. seem to indicate it was E.P. Ricker Sr. a dynamic driving man with vision and flair under whose leadership the Ricker enterprises grew and prospered..."

"Emerald green was a favorite color, evidently, for when it was decided to have a souvenir bottle for all honeymooning guests at Poland Spring, a one quart Moses with glass ball stopper in cork was made for the 1931 season.  The same bottles were sold in the gift shop and the newsstands during the depression years for twenty-five cents, without a glass stopper."
(The Moses Bottle, by Pal Vincent, 1969)

An extensive collection of Moses bottles and other Poland Spring memorabilia can be seen at the Palabra Shop in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. 

Poland Water Price List, ca. 1895

Poland Water Price List, ca. 1900

Poland Water Price List, ca. 1906

3 Gallon Stoneware Jug
Poland Mineral Spring Water

While the Moses bottle was used for display and souvenir purposes, the water was shipped in more commonplace vessels.  Barrels, stoneware jugs and wicker-covered demijohns were replaced around 1890 by corked green glass bottles.  Such was the concern about counterfeit Poland Water that these bottles bore a label offering a $500 reward for proof of substitution.

"Make Sure That the Cork Drawn Is Branded As Shown Above.  $500 REWARD For Evidence Which Secures Conviction Of Any Person For Refilling Bottles Bearing Our TRADE MARK Or For Selling As POLAND WATER Any Water Not From POLAND SPRING."
(Poland Water Label, ca. 1906)

By 1908, Hiram Ricker & Sons had established offices in Boston, New York and Philadelphia to facilitate the sales and shipment of Poland water throughout the country.   The water was available Natural (Still) or Aerated (Sparkling) in half gallon, 1/5 gallon, and 1/10 gallon bottles, at a price of about fifty cents a gallon.  Rebates were offered for the return of containers in good condition.

"Poland Water can be obtained on dining cars, transatlantic steamships, and...is shipped all over America in car lots and distributed by the best dealers everywhere direct to the consumer.  If not readily found, write for name of nearest dealer, or, if preferred, shipment can be made direct either from South Poland, Me., or from a warehouse, several of which are located in the larger cities of the country."
(Illustrated History of Poland Spring, 1914)

Poland Water Offices, ca. 1908
(Poland Spring, Growth and Development
in a Half Century, 1908)

Poland Water New York Office,
1180 Broadway, ca. 1908

(Poland Spring, Growth and Development
in a Half Century, 1908)

Poland Water Invoice, June 5, 1908

Poland Water Carton, ca. 1927
(Health Hints at Home and Abroad, 1927)

Poland Water Claims, 1883
(Pamphlet, Poland Spring, Maine,1883)

"Poland Water is now put up in cartons of 6 half gallons, 12 bottles and 12 half bottles; particularly adapted for use in apartments, yachts, motors, and automobiles while touring as a protection to health."

It may be obtained in the leading hotels of the world, at all important grocers and drug stores, on the principal steamer lines, and in Pullmans."
(Health Hints at Home and Abroad, 1927)

Through the years, a variety of advertising items were published extolling the virtues of Poland Water.  The earliest ones focus on the medicinal properties of the water and contain page after page of testimonials from physicians, and those attributing their recovery from any number of maladies to the drinking of Poland Water.  Later ads changed the focus from miracle cure to the pure, refreshing and invigorating qualities of the water.  In the 1950's, Poland Water was even recommended for your family bomb shelter!

"Delicious Poland Water, in its hermetically sealed, green glass quart or half gallon bottles, keeps in definitely and is ideal for inclusion in your 'shelter' supplies.   Used for this purpose by many large concerns."
(Poland Water Flyer, ca. 1956)

Poland Water Flyer
ca. 1895

Poland Water Flyer
ca. 1910

Poland Water Flyer
ca. 1948

Poland Water Flyer
ca. 1956

"Drink Poland Water"
Painted Glass Sign

In 1910 the corked bottle was replaced by a cork-lined crimped metal cap bottle, which persisted with slight redesigns well into the 1970's.  In the early 1980's a screw-top bottle was introduced, which was the last glass bottle used for Poland Water.  Today, Poland Water is packaged in a variety of clear plastic bottles and jugs.


One hundred years of Poland Water bottles...

Cork with
Paper Seal

Cork with
Paper Seal

Metal Cap with
Paper Seal

Metal Cap with
Plastic Seal

Metal Cap
No Seal

Screw Top
No Seal

All Plastic
No Seal

The Poland Servaholder, ca. 1945

This exclusive 'plasti-clear' Servaholder transforms each POLAND WATER bottle into an easily handled, accurately pouring carafe.  It stands steadily, protects the POLAND WATER bottle from breakage, and prevents marring of polished wood or metal.   Available in half gallon and quart sizes.  Write for further information."

(Flyer, "Coming up Sir! with Poland Water...", ca.1945

Poland Water Advertizing, ca. 1976

If you savor the velvety subtleties of a 'still' spring water, you'll appreciate Poland Spring Non-Effervescent.  But if your palate would sooner be entertained by a remarkably light, yet invigorating natural sparkle, you'll delight in Poland Spring Sparkling.
As the definitive mixer, or by itself (try Sparkling with a peel of lemon or a sliver of lime), you'll find that only Poland Spring is as delicious as Poland Spring.
No wonder Poland Spring has been America's Maine source of natural spring water, for almost 200 years.
Discover Poland Spring, THE MAINE SOURCE."

(Flyer, "Poland Spring", ca.1976

Following the repeal of prohibition, Hiram Ricker and Sons began producing a variety of Poland Spring Mixers, made with Poland Water.   These were meant to compliment the line of Poland Spring liquors manufactured by The Lawrence Company of Boston (and later of Lewiston, Maine).  Clear Gin, Sloe Gin, and Whiskey were made and bottled in clear, amber, and green facsimiles of the original Moses bottle.

"The liquor bottles are found in clear, light and dark amber, and in emerald green. They are found in numerous sizes, until 1946 when the first green fifth was used."
(The Moses Bottle, by Pal Vincent, 1969)

Brian Harris