The original Coca-Cola bottle patent (No. 48,160) turns 100 today. In the early 1900s, soda bottles all looked the same, and copycat brands were using Coca-Cola’s famous script logo to horn in on customers. The company, which had started making Coke in 1886, decided it needed a distinctive bottle as a marketing tool to distinguish it from rivals.
When Coca-Cola’s bottlers announced a design competition for glassmakers in 1915, they asked for “a bottle so distinct that you would recognize if by feel in the dark or lying broken on the ground.”
The winner was a bottle that had its curvy shape modeled after the cacao pod. While cocoa was the main ingredient in chocolate, it was not in the soft drink, something the bottle designer did not realize.
But the design was a little too wide, which might have made it wobbly. Instead, a slimmer model, which has evolved since then, became what the world drank from for decades.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gave the bottle trademark status, rare for packaging, in 1961.
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