Tonight's post is a little off the subject of painting, but I have been pretty good about staying on topic of late, so allow me a diversion. I am going to tell you about a fine "tonic", as old time New Englanders call what those in the Midwest call "pop". This is my drink of choice and I am here tonight to advertise it. I should get paid to shill for RGH paint, Moxie and a few other fine products.
If you wonder what the official soft drink of American Impressionism was, I am guessing Moxie, now I can't find a photo of Willard Metcalf drinking it, but it came out of Lowell Massachusetts at the same time he did. In his lifetime it was bigger than Coca Cola. I bet Hassam drank it too, who knows? Sargent was in Boston frequently for much of the last twenty years of his life. Since Ted Williams advertised it, Aldro Hibbard must have been a fan of it too.
Above is the one hundred and three year old, thirty two foot high Moxie bottle now preserved by the International Moxie Congress at their museum to the historic soft drink in Union, Maine. I am certain you will be exited by the line of Moxie collectibles they are selling. Moxie is the official soft drink of the state of Maine. Here is a link to the International Moxie Congress. This giant bottle was used as a promotional item and could be taken down and transported from venue to venue. Moxie was served from the bottle for many years and then the bottle became part of a private family cottage. As it was disintegrating a group of Moxie enthusiasts bought the thing, restored it and built a building to house it at a little Moxie shrine and Museum in Maine.
Moxie was first created in 1876 in Lowell, Massachusetts by a druggist, and was marketed as a patent medicine and nerve food until the food and drug administration came into being in 1906.
In the 1920's Moxie outsold Coca cola, but gradually lost market share, and is now mostly a regional curiosity in New England. Its some what bitter and unusual flavor is totally unlike anything else in the soft drink market. Some people love it, others hate it. My kids won't touch the stuff. I have been known to pack a couple of twelve packs for trips out of New England.
Recently Cornucopia beverages of Bedford, New Hampshire bought the Moxie franchise and is working to revitalize the brand and has even begun distributing it in a few test markets outside of New England.The brand once advertised by Ted Williams (in headier days!) is now easier to find in markets across New England and people are even selling it on e-bay for shipment across the country.
Here are the new 2 Liter plastic bottles of Moxie and the other updated and handsome packaging now available . These are bottled right here in nearby Londonderry, New Hampshire. Here is some packaging from Moxies remarkable history.
And below some packaging through the middle of the last century.
In the early 1900's before Henry Ford made the automobile common and affordable Moxie was one of the first company's to use the new fangeled things to advertise and deliver their products. Drivers in those days had to be mechanics and salesmen as well. Many rural Americans first saw an automobile with the name Moxie lettered on it.
Here is a link to a site shipping Moxie in gift packs across the country, so whereever you are reading this, you too can try this historic New England drink. They also are selling Moxie hats.