Featured Records

  • The Coca-Cola Bottle: Celebrating 100 Years of an American Icon
  • The Coca-Cola Bottle: Celebrating 100 Years of an American Icon
  • The Coca-Cola Bottle: Celebrating 100 Years of an American Icon
The Coca-Cola Bottle: Celebrating 100 Years of an American Icon

“A bottle which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark”
–Coca-Cola Company, 1915

Today the Coca-Cola bottle is one of the most recognizable containers in the world, but a century ago nearly all soda bottles looked the same. To distinguish its product from competitors, the Coca-Cola Company launched a competition among glassmakers in 1915 to design a new bottle that was distinctive in both look and feel.

The winning design, patented by the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, sought inspiration from two Coca-Cola ingredients: the coca leaf and kola nut. However, the bottle’s fluted contour shape was mistakenly modeled after the cacao pod, the main ingredient in chocolate.

The Coca-Cola Company adopted the Root Glass Company’s bottle design in 1916, but the original prototype was never manufactured because it was top-heavy and unstable. The first commercial “Coke” bottles debuted with a wider base and slimmed-down, contoured shape.

Click here to download “Design patent No. 48,160 for bottle or similar article, November 16, 1915.”

This document is on display in the West Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives in Washington, DC, June 4 through July 29, 2015.

The National Archives Museum’s “Featured Document” exhibit is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of The Coca-Cola Company.

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  • Judiciary Act of 1789
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  • Bicentennial of the Burning of Washington and the Battle of Baltimore
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  • Senate Revisions to House Proposed Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
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