In 1783, George Washington visited the natural springs of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Along with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, he took a keen interest in the supposed medicinal qualities of mineral water, a subject of much scientific research at the time. The following year, a friend wrote to him to describe the difficulty of bottling the strongly effervescent Saratoga water. “Several persons told us that they had corked it tight in bottles, and that the bottles broke,” wrote Washington’s friend. The birth of the United States thus coincided with the origins of bottled water.