Commercially sold bottled water has it’s roots in the late Eighteenth Century, when spring water, due to it’s supposed heath benefits, was packaged and sold in England due to public interest in springs. In 1845, Hiram Ricker began packaging and selling the water in his spring in Maine, and Poland Spring was born. The popularity behind water wasdriven by health concerns, and water was sold in thoroughly cleaned glass bottles packages by employees wearing steralized garb.
Bottled water hit a boom in the late 1990’s – early 2000’s for the same reason – people thought it was cleaner than tap water (which for the most part, it wasn’t). Due to environmental concerns, bottled water is now loosing public interest in America, and sales are declining. According to the first link, Italians drink the most bottled water, averaged at 50gal/person annually.
Here’s a fun video describing the origin of bottled water’s recent spike in popularity and the environmental concerns brought by it.
Records show that water was bottled and sold in Jackson’s Spa in Boston as early as 1767. However, bottled water first came into real prominence in the 1800’s when developments in the glass industry made for effective production. In the 19th Century, the Ricker family opened a health spa whose spring waters were supposed to have healing properties. In 1845, they started bottling the water and selling it. Saratoga Springs also came about in the mid 1800s. Bottled spring water in the 19th century was sold for its medicinal uses.
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