The Iconic Coca-Cola Contour Bottle and Its 100th Anniversary
In 2015, the Coca-Cola contour bottle design turned 100 years old, sparking the Coke bottle centennial campaign. As part of the celebrations, the Coca-Cola Company released a gorgeous Coca-Cola hand and bottle sign. As seen above, this embossed, 21-inch high beauty has a powerful message—an outstretched hand holding a bottle of Coke. The design harkens back to artwork appearing in a 1947 Coca-Cola print ad with a hand holding a bottle of Coke that was bursting through the ad itself. In the ad, Coca-Cola’s other name, “Coke” is being introduced. As the ad says, “Ask for it either way . . . both trade-marks mean the same thing.”
The Coca-Cola Company is known for the iconic look of its classic contour bottle. Originally bottled very much like other soft drinks, the Coca-Cola Company realized its beverage needed a special container to help it stand out from imitators and other competition. The result was a design that is immediately recognizable as a Coke bottle and was one of the first packaging creations designed to differentiate a product from its competitors.
In April of 1915, a national challenge was put out to several glass companies by the Coca-Cola Company to design a “bottle so distinct that you would recognize it by feel in the dark or lying broken on the ground.” The design team of the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana took up the challenge. After researching the cocoa bean from which Coca-Cola’s flavor comes from, the team arrived at a voluptuous ribbed design inspired by cocoa bean pods. The resulting hobble skirt bottle was unique and was the clear winner of the competition in the eyes of the Coca-Cola representatives. The unique shape was patented on November 16, 1915, by A. Samuelson of the Root Glass Company. A slightly modified version of the design went into production the following year.
The Coca-Cola Company specified the glass for the bottles was to be “German Green.” The name was later changed to “Georgia Green” in honor of the home state of the Coca-Cola Company. Although the early design was slightly wider than the bottles we are used to seeing today, the shape has remained the same. The 6.5-ounce contour bottle was the only Coca-Cola package available for purchase until 1955 when Coke was released in cans.
At RetroPlanet, we love all things Coke and are busy celebrating our new licensing agreement with Coca-Cola and the exciting and exclusive home decor products we can now offer you. These include wall decals, multi-panel metal wall art, floor graphics and stickers. We’d love your feedback, so check them all out and let us know what you think!