2015 Press Releases

Opening Tomorrow: National Archives Special Display of Coca-Cola Bottle Patent
Press Release · Thursday, June 4, 2015

Washington, DC

Exhibit Celebrates 100 Years of an American Icon

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

Washington, DC…To celebrate 100 years of an American icon, the National Archives presents a special display of the original Coca-Cola bottle patent (Design patent No. 48,160) in the West Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Museum.

The exhibit is free and open to the public, and will be on display from June 4, 2015 through July 29, 2015. The patent will also be displayed during its November anniversary from October 29, 2015, through December 2, 2015. The National Archives Museum is located on the National Mall on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.

The National Archives Museum’s “Special West Rotunda Gallery Exhibition” is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of The Coca-Cola Company.

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 Coca-Cola’s ingredients. However, the bottle’s fluted contour shape was instead 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. This silhouette became so unmistakable that in 1961 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gave it trademark status.

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For press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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