For sale is a rare early 1900s vintage BUFFALO LITHIA WATER Bottle sold by the Buffalo Lithia Springs Water Company, Buffalo Springs, Virginia. This large 1/2 gallon water bottle has embossed company logo on the bottle. Vintage bottle measures 10.5″ tall, by 4.5″ diameter. Heavy bottle weighs 1 lb. 12 oz. Embossed text reads: “Buffalo Lithia Water – natures Materia Medica – Trade Mark”. The heal of the bottle is marked “4”. This bottle predates 1914 when the government forced the company to cease using Lithia in its name and the company product became “Buffalo Mineral Water”. There are very few collectible apothecary bottles as historically rich and varied as those of Buffalo Lithia Springs.
The first European-Americans to visit Buffalo Springs in Virginia and record their visit are believed to have been a survey group led by William Byrd II in 1728. In 1874, Thomas F. Goode obtained the property and his vision led to national prominence and sales of the water bottles we collect today. Goode who had a chemical analysis completed of Buffalo Springs which reported an unusually high concentration of Lithia. Around 1900, Goode named his water business as Virginia Buffalo Lithia Springs. He touted his water as a treatment for Dyspepsia, Uric Acid Diathesis, Gout, Nephritic Colic, Calculi, Bright’s Disease, Rheumatic Gout, Rheumatism, fevers, malaria, typho-malaria, and atypical typhoid.
In 1905, the Pure Food and Drug Act changed forever the business practices of patent medicine products. As a result of this passage a study was completed in 1907 from which the government shared tests that established the Potomac River actually had five times the concentration of lithium than did Buffalo Lithia Water. Part of the court ruling stated that “for a person to obtain any therapeutic dose of lithium by drinking Buffalo Lithia Spring Water he would have to drink from 150,000 to 225,00 gallons per day.” It was after this ruling, in 1908 that the business altered the Buffalo Lithia Water brand name to its official name, Buffalo Lithia Springs Water trying to end run the intent of the law. This attempt bought more time to continue touting the lithia properties of the water nut this ended in 1914 when the US Supreme Court ruled that Buffalo Lithia Springs could not use the word “lithia” to advertise or sell their spring water. The name on the embossed bottles then became Buffalo Mineral Water. Sales plummeted due to the lack of medical value for the water. The resort ceased operations in the 1940s.