By Karen R. Smith, WC&P Executive Editor
Bottled water continues to dominate the marketplace. Financial experts all believe that growth will continue and no upward limit has yet been established. Should your business enter this profitable marketplace? If you already offer bottled water, how can you make your product stand out from the rest? What’s new in the world of bottled water? All of those questions are answered in this issue…beginning with our cover boy.
I’ll wager you’re wondering about that wonderful griffin on our cover. He was created in the 15th century — for bottled water! These containers are called aquamanilia. They were the first hollow-cast vessels produced in the medieval West. Clean water was needed by priests for handwashing prior to mass and by lay people at mealtimes, as much food was consumed without benefit of silverware.
Each of these remarkable water bottles has two openings: one for filling with water and one for pouring it out. Human and animal forms predominate; many are fantasy creations like the griffin here. In fact, aquamanilia are among the most distinctive and delightful products of the Middle Ages, according to the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture, where they are currently on display.
Our cover critter and a host of other aquamanilia are part of the extensive collection belonging to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which are being exhibited at the Bard Center through October 15. The primary mission of the Bard Center’s exhibitions is to enhance scholarship and promote public awareness of the decorative arts, design, and culture by examining Western and non- Western subjects from the ancient world to the present. A range of seminars and public programs as well as gallery tours are also organized in conjunction with each exhibition.
For a historical perspective of bottled water – and a unique opportunity to see early packaging! – I encourage you to visit The Bard Center while the aquamanilia are on display. The Center is located on West 86th Street in Manhattan and easily accessible by mass transit. For additional information, visit the website: http://www.bgc.bard.edu.
We’re entering ‘conference’ season in the water treatment industry – which events are you attending? Spend a few minutes at your computer and check out the show’s floorplan and exhibitor list, along with the program of educational offerings. It is more important than ever to maximize the investment your business makes in trade show attendance – but doing so means planning ahead. Simple practices can enhance the benefits of your visit; for example, to learn the most about the products and services you are interested in, time your show floor visit for the middle of the conference. At the beginning, vendors are setting up and often initially swamped with inquiries; at the end, they are trying to pack up and head out, often having sent key staffers on ahead. In the middle of the show you will have the undivided attention of the full staff—all of whom are eager to help your business!
Many of the regional WQAs will be hosting their annual events in the coming weeks and thousands will head for Aquatech Amsterdam 2006, which is shaping up to be the largest show ever from the RAI. Head for the WC&P booth and introduce yourself!