Advert for T Woods, mineral water manufacturer
Medium: Lithograph, coloured
Britain in the 1850s saw a number of severe cholera outbreaks in industrialised cities, such as Manchester, Glasgow and London. The epidemics led to investigations into pollution in municipal water supplies, and distrust of these supplies contributed to the success of bottled mineral water, which was thought to be purer and healthier.
In the beginning, though, a good many of these mineral water manufacturers were backstreet entrepreneurs, with homemade purification technology and bottling facilities in the family cellars or outhouses. Towards the end of the century, with the growth of the Temperance Movement, the mineral water industry developed enormously, leading to manufacturing plants on the scale of Woods' illustrated here.