Every once in a while you may see someone sharing a picture of a can of “dehydrated water.” There seem to be many of these old cans around and some have been sold on eBay.
The vintage cans read “EMPTY CONTENTS OF CAN INTO ONE GALLON OF WATER. STIR UNTIL DISSOLVED. CHILL AND SERVE.”
The small print reads “Manufacturers and distributors to the Nation’s fine eating establishments, General Offices, Bernard Food Industries, Inc.”
Some people wonder why in the world anyone would try to perpetrate such a hoax. Dehydrated water? Add it TO water?
What is Dehydrated Water?
Well, dehydrated water is actually not a hoax, although the website Museum of Hoaxes has an article about them (which acknowledges the joke). These cans of dehydrated water are actually empty tin cans made by a real food company, Bernard Food Industries, who began making the cans in 1964.
The cans were never meant to fool anyone. They were made as a novelty or gag item, something to be displayed at stores to make people laugh, get them talking, etc.
According to the Flickr user from whom I borrowed the image used on this page (see image credit below picture), these cans of water were even trademarked.
The comedian Stephen Wright may or may not have been familiar with these cans when he joked “I bought some dehydrated water but I didn’t know what to mix it with.” If he had read the label, he would have known, of course, to add water…duh.
Bernard Food Food Industries
From 1947, Bernard actually sold many dehydrated foods, canned foods, dietetic products, and other products meant for institutional or restaurant food use. They were also one of the first, if not the first company to use an artificial non-nutritive sweetener in a baking mix, which the company still offers today in its line of Sweet’N Low Bakery Mixes.
Bernard’s dehydrated water in a can is not the only reference to dehydrated water. It’s an old joke. There is even a website called “buydehydratedwater” that is well-crafted enough to fool some people into thinking its ridiculous pseudoscience ramblings about how the dehydrated water capsules are made is something more than a joke. It is, of course, meant to be humorous.
Even now, on Amazon, you can buy a can of Future Essentials Dehydrated Water, from the springs of ‘useyourimagination.’ The perfect gift for someone who has it all, the product is, of course, gluten free, MSG free, and 100% free of all chemicals except the chemicals in the air the can contains.
Another dehydrated water novelty is ‘Dr. Health’s Deydrated Water,’ and attractive blue can with the slogan Spring Water Without All the Wetness. No calories, fat, cholesterol, and of course, no artificial ingredients. How’s that for healthy? These cans may be available from sellers on eBay or other websites where collectibles are sold.
Uses for Dehydrated Water
Benard Food Industries, on their webpage about dehydrated water, suggests several humorous ‘uses’ for their dehydrated water:
- Dry Martinis-Manhattans
- Watering Cactus
- VW Bug Anti-Freeze
- Dry Cleaning
- Humidifying Saunas
- Filling Dry Docks
- Dry Mopping Floors
- In Dry Sinks
- Dry Shampoos
- In Dry-Cell Batteries
- Dampening Dry Humor
- Making Dry Ice
Is Bernard Dehydrated Water for Sale?
Yes, I contacted Bernard Foods and they told me that you can buy cans of Bernard Dehydrated water through eDiet.com. They sell for $5 a can, and $60 for a case, plus shipping. Free shipping is offered for orders of $75 or more. Use the code “75ship.”
You can still find vintage cans for sale. They sell quickly! Check sites like Etsy, eBay, antiquesnavigator.com, etc. as some cans pop up from different sellers once in a while. Expect to pay somewhere between 5 to 10 dollars. If you are not a collector and you want to give someone a can of dehydrated water as a gag gift, you may be better off with one of the new cans.