|Over the years,
a variety of items were offered for sale in the in the hotel gift shop, which visitors to
Poland Spring eagerly purchased as mementos of their visit or as gifts for friends and
family. Many of these items were uniquely Victorian products, such as Mauchline
ware, while others were as ubiquitous then as today, such as postcards and souvenir books.
Mauchline Trinket Box
and Pin Holder
(Souvenirs of Poland Spring, ca. 1880)
"Mauchline ware are small wooden
souvenir and giftware produced in southwest Scotland from the early 19th century until the
1930's. Made from the wood of the plane tree (sycamore) with applied transfer prints
used as a decoration. All received numerous coats of protective copal varnish. There
is no record of the total number of different transfer views, but the number must run into
four figures, with many popular resorts, both inland and coastal, being represented by
large numbers of different views."
(John Baker, Chairman of the Mauchline
Ware Collectors Club)
Souvenir books containing text and pictures documenting the Poland
Spring and Hotels were sold to visitors as mementos of their stay. One early
souvenir book, published by Chisholm Bros. of Portland, Me., contained a series of
envravings depicting the Poland Spring complex, including interior and exterior views, the
bottling plant, the grove, the steamboat landing, the stables, and the scenery "after
the great ice storm of 1885."
Souvenir of Poland Spring and Hotels
(Souvenir book, ca. 1886)
German made Souvenir China from
Decorative china illustrated with views of
the Poland Spring House and accented with gold decoration were sold to visitors as
souvenirs. This china was made primarily in England and Germany, and imported by
firms such as A.L. & E.F. Goss, Co., in nearby Lewiston, Maine.
Sterling silver spoons were
created in the 1890's based on a design by Nettie Ricker. The handle of the spoon
depicts the Moses bottle with it's wooden carrying handle. The bowls of the spoons
were made in a variety of shapes, including a gold-washed grapefruit spoon, a plain tea
spoon, and an etched teaspoon showing the Poland Spring House as it looked at that
time. These spoons were often given as gifts by members of the Ricker family, etched
with the recipient's initials, a date, or some other personalized message.
On May 19, 1898, Congress enacted a law which
authorized the use of "Private Mailing Cards", for domestic (1 cent) and foreign
(2 cents) correspondence. Unlike modern postcards, these first cards reserved the
back exclusively for the address, and any message was confined to the front - a white
strip along the bottom or side was provided for your message. Among the earliest
Poland Spring postcards was a set published in 1900 based on a series of photographs made
by the Detroit Photographic Company, whose glass-plate negatives are now included among
the collections at the Library of Congress. Over the years, Poland Spring published
hundreds of different postcard designs, documenting all aspects of the hotel complex.
"These bottles...were filled and given
as souvenirs to the hotelmen and others . . .It has never been made clear which of the
Rickers so aptly chose the figure to hold the great water, but old letters, etc. seem to
indicate it was E.P. Ricker Sr. a dynamic driving man with vision and flair under whose
leadership the Ricker enterprises grew and prospered..."
green was a favorite color, evidently, for when it was decided to have a souvenir bottle
for all honeymooning guests at Poland Spring, a one quart Moses with glass ball stopper in
cork was made for the 1931 season. The same bottles were sold in the gift shop and
the newsstands during the depression years for twenty-five cents, without a glass
(The Moses Bottle, by Pal Vincent, 1969)