Can of Dehydrated Water

Dehydrated water is an old joke, but I've never actually seen a can of the stuff. Here one is, posted on Flickr by David Reeves. His caption reads, "Spotted on the chemical storage shelf in an adjacent laboratory." The strange thing is that Bernard Food Industries, the company listed as the maker of this product, is a real company. Why were they manufacturing this stuff? I assume it was a joke.

Update: Looks like these cans must have been a gag product that Bernard Foods produced at some time, because someone is selling one on eBay. Perhaps I'll bid on it.


Posted on Wed Oct 24, 2007


Old Benny Hill joke (it may predate him but that is where I first saw it) "Don't waste water. Dilute it."
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Wed Oct 24, 2007  at  11:00 AM
I sent them an email and this was their response:

Thank you for your email regarding our Dehydrated Water. It is a patented product and we began "manufacturing" it in the 1960's when space flights began. I am not sure if it qualifies as a collectable item but we do receive emails such as yours from time to time. If you would like to purchase more, please call our Customer Service Department at 800-323-3663.


Mary Kay Nolan
Administrative Assistant to the CEO
Bernard Food Industries, Inc.
Posted by oppiejoe  on  Wed Oct 24, 2007  at  12:57 PM
Interesting that they put quotes around the word manufactuing. Maybe it is just ordinary water and labeled dehydrated to qualify under the rules of NASA back then.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Wed Oct 24, 2007  at  01:15 PM
I had one of those but it got wet.
Posted by James  on  Wed Oct 24, 2007  at  04:40 PM
Is there actually anything IN the can or is it like those cans of "Florida Air" I used to see in souvenir shops in Miami when I went there with my family as a kid?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  02:14 AM
I collect tins - and this is one of my favorites. I believe I read somewhere that it was given away by salesmen of the Bernard Company to clients as a gag gift.

Salesmen from the 20's through the 60's would often give away sample cans to grocers, etc.
Posted by Josh W.  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  02:49 PM
This is perfect. It's a very portable form. Perfect for taking to remote locations to help fight forest fires! 😉
Posted by Tah  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  04:52 PM
Tah, note that the instructions say to empty the can into a gallon of water adn stir. You'll need to take the gallon of water along to put this into.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  05:28 PM
Christopher, thanks, but... SHH!

I'm trying to sell this in southern California. No one's going to buy it if you point that out! (My labels have convenient "correction" stickers over that part.) 😉

(And, yes, I knew that. I was making a timely joke due to the SoCal fires and Alex's previous post on such.)
Posted by Tah  on  Fri Oct 26, 2007  at  02:42 AM
Sorry Tah, I won't say a word.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Fri Oct 26, 2007  at  10:46 AM
I have this can!! Slightly oxidized but great condition including label. Looks as though the can was used as an advertising prop to sell Kamp-Pack vending products and 400 products of various varieties. Anyone interested please e-mail me to discuss. Great piece of "history"
Posted by Dina  on  Wed Nov 14, 2007  at  05:43 PM
I have a newer version of the can. Authentic, Bernard Dehydrated Water. This one is new enough to have a pop-top - no can opener needed...sheesh I kill me. The older one I saw on Ebay sold in auction for $46 plus shipping. Mine has a "special uses for dry H2O" section on the label. It also has the number 1545 stamped into the bottom of the can. Dina, if you have an older one I suggest you hold on to it for a while. Just a thought. This is hilarious! :roll:
Posted by Mike  on  Tue Nov 20, 2007  at  04:05 PM
Hello Mike: Thank you for your contribution to my posting and your advice. This was my Grandfathers; I have a bunch of neat things from Gramps...makes sense, he was a prankster! Incidentally, 2719 is stamped on the bottom of mine... I thought it might me Julian Date coding but there really is nothing inside to expire! LOL
Posted by Dina  on  Tue Nov 20, 2007  at  04:20 PM
Check out this website! Buy dehydrated water today! It's an amusing modern day version of this can.
Posted by Kate  on  Mon Jan 28, 2008  at  03:01 PM
Wow my dad use to get me with that all the time, now I see where he gets it from...
Posted by Patrick  on  Tue Feb 05, 2008  at  11:40 PM
The company that makes this can have created a webpage for the product. Check it out. Nutritional facts are included.
Posted by Joe Gomez  on  Wed Mar 05, 2008  at  01:46 PM
Thank you for your contribution to my posting and your advice. I have this can!! Slightly oxidized but great condition including label.
Posted by Artem  on  Wed Apr 30, 2008  at  05:34 AM
Posted by anon  on  Thu May 08, 2008  at  12:28 PM
We have had one of these cans for as long as I can remember. We keep it on our shelf as a gag for friends of ours, its a great conversation piece. I think my father gave it to me in the late '60s.

Ours has 8192 stamped on the top. Like the others, its slightly rusty but the label is in great shape.

Now it even means more to us!!
Posted by Joe Cosca  on  Sat Jul 05, 2008  at  11:15 PM
Haha I really wonder what it is made out of maybe its just nothing?
Posted by MiMi  on  Wed Jul 09, 2008  at  06:11 PM
I was a science teacher at Whitman Hanson Regional High School and one Christmas our department head gave us one of these cans as a gag gift. I still display it proudly on my hutch cabinet in the kitchen and it never fails to get a chuckle from friends and family.
Posted by James Bonaparte  on  Fri Aug 15, 2008  at  05:53 AM
my can appears to be white. other can seen on internet appear yellow. has mine faded?
Posted by Betty  on  Mon Sep 15, 2008  at  02:15 PM
The can fades from White to Yellow not Yellow to White. I am surprised you never realized that. When something fades it usually become a residue color. White is not a residue color. With that in mind did you think that the dirt in your house with the yellow color represented that the house was clean. If that was the case then you really need to re-evaluate your life.
Posted by Bill Curtain  on  Mon Oct 13, 2008  at  09:59 AM
Betty, not being involved with the company that sells the "product" I can only speculate as to differing colors. First of all age may have something to do with color because the company changed the label after a few years. This is a common practice when a new look might be desirable to attract attention. Second is that as the label paper aged it naturally "yellowed" which is also common, and just as likely. It is a shame that someone used this fun-forum to flame you over your use of the word 'fade'. The word fade is often perceived as a gradual change, regardless of beginning or end appearance. Bill? 😛
Posted by Mike  on  Mon Oct 13, 2008  at  10:36 AM
Bernard did indeed make them as an advertising gimmick. I remember seeing them in their store displays, and even had one for a while.

I guess from the response to the email they are still in the dehydrated food business? At the time (1950s and 1960s) their dehydrated products were ok, but you really did not want to use them for extended trips. A number of mountaineering expeditions did so, though, since there were few other choices. One summer when in college, I worked for the company that sponsored my scholarship, Food Machinery and Chemical. They were just developing freeze-dry products at the time (for the military and NASA). They would give some samples to some of us who they knew did a fair amount of backpacking with the request "if you can figure out how to reconstitute this stuff, be sure to tell us."
Posted by OGBO  on  Mon Oct 20, 2008  at  04:51 PM
I have a can of that. They were given away at food trade shows as a joke in the 60's
Posted by Chris  on  Mon May 11, 2009  at  03:51 PM
Its funny, on their website it says:

Contains: No artifical flavors
No Artifical Colors
No Preservatives
No Nothing
Posted by Mike  on  Tue Jul 07, 2009  at  04:47 PM
No, I don't think it's a joke. They manufacture it on Florida, US. If you are great at manufacturing too, you can join to get more projects. Use this code to get more advantages BUILDIT4ME.
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Posted by Nascha  on  Wed Nov 11, 2009  at  04:22 PM
The company that makes this can have created a webpage for the product. Check it out. Nutritional facts are included.
Posted by tom  on  Sat Nov 21, 2009  at  02:50 AM
I have a can of this stuff, purchased it some years ago, quite humorous
Posted by Tim  on  Tue Dec 29, 2009  at  10:32 PM
That's funny. So basically it's a can of humid air :lol:
Posted by Water damage Sacramento  on  Fri Jan 01, 2010  at  09:21 PM
:-/ Never questioned the humidity or aridity of the contents before but since the directions say to open a can and add to a gallon of water and stir for instant water I would say the contents are rather on the arid side - this keeps getting better all the time :lol:
Posted by Mike  on  Sat Jan 02, 2010  at  08:23 PM
This could be good to send to Haiti.
Posted by Candy de Asis  on  Wed Jan 20, 2010  at  08:45 AM
Don't be tricked by this fakery. I bought 2 dozen of these 30 some odd years ago and when I needed them for a drought to save on water consumption for a few months, they all had NOTHING inside them. We called the company the next day, and apparently they weren't meant to have anything in them. What a load of false advertisement.
Posted by SCREW LYING  on  Thu Jan 21, 2010  at  10:17 PM
"Don't be tricked by this fakery."?
"What a load of false advertisement."?
Please, tell me you're being sarcastic.
Really, if a person is really this gullable, they deserve to be tricked IMHO.

I love gag products. Remember the electric corncob toilet paper replacer? That's right, for those who don't know, it was a corn cob with an electric cord stuck in it meant to substitute TP as a gag of course. Low brow yes but it was very popular in rural Minnesota about 30 years ago as a gag gift.
Posted by Rehydrated  on  Tue Jan 26, 2010  at  10:19 AM
This is also produced by J. Rosemblum & Sons from Paterson NJ, it says Lord Sterling Dehydrated Water, I have it here sitting on my desk next to my computer....
Posted by Jim  on  Thu Jun 10, 2010  at  01:02 AM
sorry, Roenblum.......
Posted by Jim  on  Thu Jun 10, 2010  at  01:03 AM
WOW that is the most useless thing that i have ever seen, all the people that have baught this can are ******
Posted by Jerome  on  Thu Oct 07, 2010  at  01:19 PM
People buy stuff almost this ridiculous everyday... It's really amazing what marketers can get people to buy 😉
Posted by Marvin  on  Sun Jan 02, 2011  at  01:05 PM
Marvin - please tell me you are kidding? This is a gag and anyone who reads the label on the can would know that. There are recipes and instructions for creating a gallon of water with it; (Open can, pour into a gallon of water, stir, serve), etc. Also they are not really sold unless requested specifically - they are normally distributed as a gag-advertisement for a company that produces dehydrated foods, which are very useful in camping and emergencies. Other things in life are far more serious than this to worry about or criticize. Learn to laugh a little, first at yourself, then WITH others.
Posted by MIke  on  Sun Jan 02, 2011  at  01:20 PM
My grandmother had a can of dehydrated water in her office
Posted by Julie  on  Fri Jan 14, 2011  at  01:01 AM
I have had one of these cans for nearly 45 years - it is from the original 1964 run and is in very good shape!
Posted by Stephen Eskelson  on  Sun Apr 08, 2012  at  04:51 PM
My father worked for American Can Co. In San Jose in the late 50's. I'm the proud keeper of my fathers can of Bernard Dehydrated Water. My father always kept it in the back of our food pantry in the dark, its one of the items I asked for before he past away. My uncle George Harnik who just past away was a senior VP for American Can Co. He called it a can of Vacuum when he wrote about it in his Snap-Shot of his life as an iternational executive.
Posted by Robert Will  on  Fri Sep 14, 2012  at  09:08 PM
Hi, I have a can of pittco Dehydrated water. These were given out by salesmen as gag gifts. I'd be willing to part with mine.
Posted by Dryw Loney  on  Fri Oct 05, 2012  at  04:52 PM
All I want to say is...Brilliant!
Posted by Emily Stevens  on  Tue Jan 29, 2013  at  01:28 PM
Where can I purchase one of these? :coolsmirk:
Posted by Loretta Lustig  on  Sat Sep 14, 2013  at  11:12 AM
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