Coke bottle shape created in Indiana based on misunderstanding

It is one of the most iconic packages ever created. The one whose Indiana creators were inspired by an ingredient they thought was part of the recipe for the product for which it was designed.

The story of the Coca-Cola bottle

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You don’t even have to look at a Coke bottle to describe its shape. All anyone has to say is the word “Coke,” and you can instantly see her hourglass-shaped shape with her flared top and bottom finishing off her slimmer midsection in your mind. That’s exactly what the owners of Coca-Cola hoped for when they commissioned several glassmakers to design and create a bottle for their wildly popular product. According to Coca-Cola Company website, they were looking for a “bottle so distinct you’d recognize if it felt in the dark or if it was broken on the floor.” I would say they got what they wanted even though the design was based on what turned out to be a happy accident.

Shortly after its creation in the late 1800s, Coca-Cola was one of the most popular soft drinks. Back then, the only way to enjoy it was from a soda fountain in a restaurant or restaurant. Seeing an opportunity to increase their business, the owners of the company wanted to find a way for the public to enjoy it at home. This meant creating a bottle to store it that could be sold outside of restaurants. After franchising the bottling rights of the product to different companies in the region, the first bottles looked fairly standard and despite creating a logo for the bottles, many competing companies began to imitate the design hoping that consumers would buy their product thinking it was Coke. For this reason, it was decided that Coca-Cola needed its own distinctive bottle that stood out among the crowd. In 1915, the directors of the company voted to “spend up to $500” (just over $14,300 in today’s money) to the glassmaker who created the winning design. Between eight and ten companies accepted the challenge and got to work. One of these was the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute who came up with the design still used to this day, although the inspiration was a bit flawed.

The designers based their concept on the “curves and grooves of the gourd-shaped cocoa bean” because they thought cocoa was one of the ingredients in cola probably thanks to the word “Coke” in the name. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t.

Obviously, it didn’t matter, and the company admins voted to make the design the official packaging for their product. After the patent for the design expired in 1951, the company applied for the branding of the bottle, which was rare at the time. In April 1961, it was granted trademark status based on a 1949 study showing that the design had become so synonymous with the company that “less than 1% of Americans could not identify the Coke bottle only by its form.

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The design has remained largely unchanged since its inception, although the company has turned to plastic bottles rather than glass. Even the two-liter bottles feature the iconic shape thanks to a bottle manufacturing company right here in Indiana that made an incorrect assumption.

[Source: The Coca-Cola Company]

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