This 1922 commercial for Moxie was found in the library’s extensive collection of sound recordings made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

Regardless of whether you think Moxie is the nectar of the gods, or you think it tastes like cola mixed with nickels, we can all agree it’s an iconic symbol of Maine.

It was first brewed by Maine native Augustin Thompson in 1876, as “Moxie Nerve Food,” a patent medicine, and it is one of the three longest-running soft drinks in the country, alongside Vernor’s Ginger Ale and Hires Root Beer.

And, according to archivists at the Library of Congress, Maine’s beloved soda may be the subject of the very first audio advertisement for a soda — way back in 1922, when radio first became commonplace across the world.

This 1922 commercial for Moxie was found in the library’s extensive collection of sound recordings made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was shared in a story last month by NPR, which noted the fact that all such recordings made before 1922 are now in the public domain.

The commercial is exactly what you might expect a radio jingle from the 1920s to sound like — scratchy, and extremely old-timey. We apologize if you find yourself singing this for the rest of the day.

Hundreds of thousands of old recordings made prior to 1923 are now available copyright-free, thanks to the 2018 Music Modernization Act, which changed copyright laws for recorded sound and mandated that commercial recordings made in the U.S. before 1923 enter into the public domain on Jan. 1, 2022. U.S. recordings made between 1923 and 1946 will then enter into the public domain, with the copyright expiring in 2023 for recordings made in 1923, and in 2024 for recordings made in 1924 and so on, up until 2046.

After that, recordings will remain protected by copyright on a 110-year schedule.

Similarly, certain films are also now starting to enter into the public domain. Presently, all films made prior to 1927 are in the public domain, but starting in 2023, films made in 1927 will enter into it, followed by films made in 1928 in 2024, films made in 1929 in 2025, and so on.

That means that in the next 10 years, iconic movies such as the original “King Kong” and “Frankenstein,” and most of the most famous works of Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers will be free to screen publicly.


Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.