When it was first bottled under contract in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1899, Coca-Cola was sold in straight-sided bottles with a metal stopper that looked more like vessels for whiskey rather than a refreshing thirst quencher. Over the next two decades, the soda would become so popular that it spawned an entire new industry of competitors who imitated both the Coca Cola recipe as well as the bottle and label designs.
It was as this point when the company made the conscious decision to create a bottled that not only stood out from the other straight-sided bottles that their competitors were using, but also a bottle that could be recognized when broken on the ground or by touch in the dark.
The result is the now-famous Coca-Cola contour bottle that was patented in 1915 by the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana.
When the Root Glass Company set out to design the bottle, they likely had no idea that it would become one of the most instantly-recognizable global brand designs within the past century – and yet 100 years later, Coca Cola is still served in contour bottles in both convenience stores as well as trendy and high-scale restaurants around the world. In total, Coca-Cola sells nearly 2 billion drinks a day in over 200 countries.
To celebrate 100 years of their contour bottle design, the company held a ‘The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100’ exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, which featured a number of design sketches, prototypes, manufacturing artifacts and a number of iconic art pieces and photographs including those form Andy Warhol, among others.
For those who might not have been able to catch exhibit, the company currently has a multi-sensory traveling exhibition on tour with stops all around the world, which culminates in Sydney, Australia at the end of November.
“Fans enter the exhibition through a sensory tunnel. Screens then visually transport them into the effervescence of a freshly opened Coca-Cola. Consumers will run their hands along the chilled Coca-Cola Contour Wall, discovering the flutes, the embossed script, the touch of glass, and the translucence of Georgia Green.
After the sensory tunnel, the “Perfect Serve” experience begins. Theatrical lighting reveals contour bottles hidden in wall insets – a second set of lights reveals bottle openers. Consumers will be prompted to reach out for a bottle and pop the cap, triggering the start of a video about the creation of the bottle.”
Check out the tour schedule by heading over to the Coca-Cola Company.