The Invention, Evolution and History of the First Water Bottle Filling Station
The concept of a bottle filling station actually dates back to a Filtrine catalog from 1922 titled, "A Profitable Solution of the Drinking Water Problem in Office Management". This literature, prepared for the Building Managers and Owners Association of N.Y., describes the original "drinking water problem". Even in the 1920's, 5 gallon bottled water jug coolers were cluttering hallways and offices. Bottled water in jugs was extremely popular because the municipal water quality (especially in urban areas) in those days was very poor, and water-borne illnesses were common.
Filtrine, as one of the first manufacturers of water filters, saw an opportunity to leverage its success in the filtration business by producing a combination drinking water filter/cooler/dispenser. Unlike the bottled water coolers, the Filtrine unit would hook up to a building’s existing plumbing system using filtered city water. In 1922, electric refrigerators were in their infancy and were very expensive, so the innovative, economical Filtrine cooler consisted of an ice box that required periodic refilling with ice to remain cool. While crude by today's standards, the models in the 1922 Filtrine catalog represent the first commercially available water coolers that resemble what we see today, delivering cool, filtered drinking water to thirsty office workers.
Beyond the cooling and filtering, Filtrine also recognized the need for building occupants to stay hydrated by refilling a personal container (typically water glasses in those days) and return to their work areas. Filtrine designed the Model 101 and the first water glass/bottle filling station was born. The 101 mounted directly above a sink and utilized the existing basin (similar in concept to Filtrine’s modern combination bottle filler/drinking fountains, such as the Model 107-16-HL-VP). Inside the cabinet was an ice chamber for cooling plus a carbon filtration system to purify the water. It also included the original Filtrine ionized filter sheets to remove suspended particles and heavy metals.
Along with the Model 101 for water glass filling, Filtrine offered a free-standing Model 103 that included a traditional bubbler head for dispensing Filtrine purified water. An original example of the 1920's 103 is still on display at our factory museum in New Hampshire. For more information on the original water bottle filling station or original drinking water cooler models, please fill out the General Inquiry Form and we will send you a PDF of the original literature from 1922.
Over the past 90+ years, Filtrine has continued to promote the filling station (alongside our traditional drinking fountains) as an alternative to wasteful disposable water bottles. In the 1970s, the water filling station that we see today really started to take shape as the Model B103. This stainless steel in-wall version of the original Model 101 from the '20s represented a significant step forward in drinking water fixture design, and was considerably ahead of its time.
Since then, the B103 has undergone many redesigns:
- Improvements in operation (i.e. speed at which bottles are filled)
- Sustainable operation (using a sensor activator that provides more than 400,000 activations on a single set of standard AA batteries)
- 16 ga stainless steel construction
- Sleek modern design (adding limitless finish options, customized logos, and enabling the B103 to fit in a standard 4" wall)
- The copper/brass waterways are 100% lead-free, no plastic tubing/connectors used.
As the Filtrine engineers back in 1920 predicted, the water glass/bottle filling station is making a significant impact on cutting down on the use of disposable water bottles. Hundreds of colleges/universities, office buildings, gyms, and municipal buildings have started installing water bottle fillers as a way to solve "the disposal drinking water bottle problem" that threatens to overwhelm the environment.
Moving forward, Filtrine continually accesses, refines and develops the design of the Filtrine Model B103, maintaining our 100+ year tradition as the top innovator in the drinking water industry.
Featured Filtrine Product
Filtrine's Model RFC remote drinking water chiller/purifiers are made-to-order based on your specifications and your unique application. Designed with a “storage type” evaporator, every unit maintains a large volume of chilled drinking water that is available at all times. Along with being more energy efficient, this chilled storage provides purified water to multiple drinking fountains, “high flow” bottle filling stations, and other potable water fixtures from a single unit in a discrete remote location.