Imagine my surprise when I learned that the company was founded in 1871 and is still producing sparkling water, tonic water and ginger ale today. It was actually enjoying its heyday from the 1920s through the 1950s and only fell into hard times in the 1980s.
The White Rock Girl is a depiction of the Greek goddess Psyche gazing at her own reflection in a crystal-clear pool of water. She has appeared on millions of bottles and cans of White Rock products, and in every one, she is topless, which company president Larry Bodkin says was the ultimate sign of purity when the company first adopted the logo at the turn of the century.
White Rock was "a real upper-class type of an item," according to Bodkin, who also says it was used at the coronation of Queen Victoria. (This would have been a little difficult, since Queen Victoria's coronation was in 1837, some 34 years before the company started. I found that it was reportedly used at King Edward VIII's coronation, so the company president could benefit from a crash course in history.) He also claims that Charles Lindbergh christened his plane with it, and Gloria Vanderbilt was baptized with it. Who knows? It makes a good story, whether it's true or not. There can be no doubt, however, that White Rock was served in the very best restaurants in the country and was the leading manufacturer of ginger ale in the 1940s and 1950s.
Over the years, the Psyche image has gotten a little thinner and a little taller, but she is still naked from the waist up. A bigger change has taken place in the structure of the company, which employed hundreds at its height but now only employs 12 people since Coca-Cola and Pepsi took over as the giants of the business.
|1950 White Rock ad|
ebay.com - pauldyroff
|1951 White Rock ad|
ebay.com - balovell
|Vintage White Rock bottle, c. 1960|
etsy.com - helloagainvintage
|New White Rock Girl|
|White Rock products today|