The Lithia Water Co., Pueblo, Colorado

I recently discovered that a couple members of my Colorado pioneer family worked at the Lithia Water Company in Pueblo. My grandfather’s sister, Jessie Gibson Turner, is listed in the Pueblo city directory in 1938 as working at Lithia Water Co.

Lithia Water Company, Pueblo

young girl in frontier Denver

Jessie Gibson Turner, age 10 or so. Photo probably in 1883 or 1884.

Jessie’s step-father, Henry McGlothlen, was a water freighter in Victor, Colorado in the 1890s. After he married Agnes, Jessie’s mother, the family moved to Pueblo. In the early part of the new century, Henry’s occupation is listed as “mineral water.” Later, in 1930, Henry also worked at the Lithia Water Co. The “Colorado Lithia Water Co.” incorporation records show the address as 99 W. Adams Avenue in Pueblo, which was their address. I haven’t figured out if and how this is the same company as the “Lithia Water Co.” The Colorado Archives have the incorporation and trademark records for the Lithia Water Bottling Co. These show that company was established by three other men — not Henry McGlothlen.

Lithia Water was known to have healing elements and was commonly marketed during those days as medicinal mineral water. The critical element is lithium salts, which supposedly improved the mood of those imbibing. It shares some elements with the anti-depressant lithium. Some studies show great results with lithia water; others not so great. Even a century ago when lithia water was popular, some newspaper articles debunked its effects.

By a strange coincidence, I was telling my friend Charmaine Ortega-Getz (author of “Weird Colorado”) about the Lithia Water Co. of Pueblo and the connection with my relatives. It just so happened that Charmaine actually possessed two bottles from that company. She rushed to her basement and pulled them from boxes and presented them to me as gifts. The bottles resemble early Coke bottles; one is clear and the other is green-tinted. They both say the same thing: “This bottle never sold. Lithia (in logotype), Pueblo, Colo. 6 1/2 ounces.” (I’d love to know why a bottle would be embossed with the words, “This bottle never sold.” Seems a bit odd!)

Lithia Water Co. bottles

Lithia Water Co. bottles

lithia water bottle

Lithia Water Co of Pueblo

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5 thoughts on “The Lithia Water Co., Pueblo, Colorado

  1. It appears to me that the actual identity of the Henry McGlothlen referred to in the above posting is actually Henry Alan McGlothlin (or possibly McLaughlin), born in England. This is derived from the 1900 census of Pueblo, Colorado for Agnes A. McGlothlen and children Jessie G and Charles M. In this census, Agnes states she is age 41, was born in Scotland and was first married 25 years ago, has two children, both alive having surname Turner, ages 18 and 16, respectively, both born in Canada. This census also shows that Agnes, Jessie and Charles emigrated from Canada in 1885. Review of the 1930 Pueblo City Directory shows a H. Alan McGlothlin (Colorado Lithia Water Co) having a house at 99 West Adams Avenue. Also shown in this directory is Jessie G. Turner a resident at that address.

    My reason for investigating the above is to determine if this Henry Alan McGlothlin, who might turn out to have a McLaughlin surname) is a candidate for My McGlothlen Family Tree. He is not, as all my male McGlothlen surname ancestors were in America well before Henry Alan Mc was born.

    Possibly this can help you find out more about these folks using the emigration date as a starting point.

    D. McGlothlen,
    McGlothlen Family Historian

  2. Just purchased a Lithia bottle at a Flea Market. My family and I lived in Pueblo for a number of years and my children graduated from High School while there. We are all into antiques and history. I usually purchase any antique from Pueblo for birthday and Christmas gifts. This was a delight for me since the bottle is so old. I immediately looked up the name on the computer and came up with your information.
    Since I am now in Casper Wy it is not easy coming across anything from Pueblo. I would love to keep the bottle but will give it to my daughter for her birthday. My son told me that I gave him a bottle opener with the Lithia brand on it years ago. He knew all about the Company.

  3. Perhaps you have figured out by now that the phrase “This Bottle Never Sold” is common on beverage bottles utilized from the late 19th and early 20th century. Bottlers in those days washed and re-used their bottles many times in order to get an appropriate return on the rather expensive investment in buying bottles with their name embossed in the glass. In other words, when you bought a bottle of Lithia Water in Pueblo, the assumption was that you were buying the contents of the bottle, while the bottle itself remained the property of the mineral water company. There was actually an expectation in those days that most people would be “honest” and would return the bottle to its rightful owner after utilizing the liquid product – hence, the bottle itself was “never sold.” An interesting Colorado anecdote was the frustrated bottling company in Victor, Colorado that got tired of their bottles disappearing, and chose to have embossed on an order of bottles the phrase; “This Bottle STOLEN From…” that bottling company!

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