14 May 2017

Carbon Canyon Historical Artifact #55: La Vida Mineral Water Company Stock Certificate, 1930

With many thanks to Dorothy Infantado, who sent this item a few days ago so that it could be posted on this blog, this entry highlights a stock certificate from La Vida Mineral Water Company, which used the water from the resort here on the Brea side of Carbon Canyon and bottled it with a variety of added flavors as a healthful beverage.

A stock certificate for 20 shares of preferred stock in La Vida Mineral Water Company, issued to Charles and Lulu Rose of Long Beach, 2 September 1930.  Donated by Dorothy Infantado.

Previous posts here have given some of the history of the La Vida Mineral Water Company, but this is the first time that a stock certificate has surfaced.  The seal of the firm shows an incorporation date of 27 February 1928, with posts on this blog stating the company started producing water in 1927 and then, evidently, decided to sell stock in the company to raise capital for expansion.  This definitely happened as La Vida water was marketed heavily throughout the West Coast in following years, peaking in 1931.

The president of the firm was C. [Charleston] A. Kleinman, whose signature is on the certificate, along with the company's secretary, whose name, however, is largely faded and indecipherable.  Information about Kleinman was included in earlier posts here from 2012.  This is certificate number 500, dated 2 September 1930, and 20 shares were issued to Charles E. and Lulu Rose.  It is not known what the par value of the stock was

The front panel of the stock certificate--likely the Roses did not receive much in the way of dividends and equity from their shares.

The stock purchased by the couple was preferred stock, which means that any dividends or any payments made on dissolution of the firm would go to holders to this type of stock before those who held common stock in the firm. La Vida Mineral Water issued a quarter million shares of capital stock, with half being preferred and the other half common.

As to these stockholders, they were not wealthy investors.  Charles E. Rose was a native of Illinois and was about 47 years old when he bought the stock.  He worked as a streetcar motorman, probably for the Pacific Electric system.  His wife Lulu Evans, who hailed from Michigan was a few years younger, and the couple resided in a modest bungalow north of downtown Long Beach.

An ad for the firm in the San Bernardino County Sun, 19 June 1931.
Even though the Great Depression began a little under a year prior to the Rosses buying their shares of stock in La Vida Mineral Water, the company's rapid growth and breathless promotion of the many health benefits of its product obviously convinced them that it was worth the expenditure.  But, it is unlikely they ever got much out of their investment in terms of dividends or equity.

What happened to this certificate is uncertain--Lulu Ross, who was previously married, had two children and it is likely the document passed to them.   However, items like this can wind up in other hands in any number of ways.  For example, perhaps a later owner of one of the homes the Rosses lived in found it.

A testimonial to the myriad health benefits of La Vida Mineral Water from another Sun ad, 26 March 1931.
In any case, many thanks to Dorothy for passing this along so that it can be shared with readers of this blog.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

A 1949 Sanborn Fire Insurance map of part of Fullerton shows a "Lavida Bottling Co. Inc" bottling plant at the SE corner of Harbor (Spadra then) and Elm. Years ago I donated a full bottle of La Vida orange soda pop to the Olinda Oil Museum.

Francis Blake


Ej said...

Love this. Thanks for sharing.