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 is 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 Museums 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-Colas ingredients. However, the bottles fluted contour shape was instead modeled after the cacao pod, the main ingredient in chocolate.
The Coca-Cola Company adopted the Root Glass Companys 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.