Is this the best-known bottle in the world? Coca-Cola bottles are displayed during a preview of the High Museum's new exhibit, "The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100" (AP photos)
Is this the best-known bottle in the world?
Lexile

A curvy drink bottle is celebrating its 100th birthday, and an art museum is exploring the origins and influence of a bottle design that's so recognizable, you'd probably know the brand if you held it in the dark.

"The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100" is set to run at Atlanta's High Museum through Oct. 4. Visitors can see original design illustrations, a prototype of the 1915 design and the work of artists who have been inspired by the now-classic design.

The soft drink company is headquartered in Atlanta.

"To do something that not only stays its course for the company over 100 years, but that also becomes a cultural icon that really is recognizable all over the world, is amazing," said High's head of museum interpretation and exhibition curator, Julia Forbes. "It really is a design success story."

The exhibition walks visitors through the history of the bottle's design, which was conceived as a way to distinguish the product from a multitude of imitators.

In a 1915 memo, the company asked glass companies to come up with "a bottle which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark, and so shaped that, even if broken, a person could tell at a glance what it was."

The Root Glass Company in Terre Haute, Indiana, developed the winning design in "Georgia Green" glass with a bulge in the center and ridges down the sides. The exhibition includes a concept sketch and patent for the contour bottle design, both dating from 1915. An original prototype bottle from 1915, one of only two known to exist, is also on display.

An entire gallery in the exhibition is devoted to the artist Andy Warhol. On one wall are two paintings of single Coca-Cola bottles inspired by old ads, one a bit abstract with smudgy lines and the other with lines so crisp and clean it doesn't even look like a painting. These works from 1961 and 1962 came at the beginning of Warhol's Pop art style using commercial images.

The exhibition concludes with a gallery of photos from the mid-1930s through the present. In some, the photographer is clearly using a Coca-Cola bottle or logo as art, while in others the bottle and logo just happen to be present.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the High and Coca-Cola, and kicks off a year-long celebration of the instantly recognizable bottle that will include advertisements highlighting its design in more than 140 countries.

Critical thinking challenge: The Coca-Cola Company is older than the Coca-Cola bottle. Why?

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COMMENTS (47)
  • hunter.mellinger64
    3/03/2015 - 12:49 p.m.

    One day Mississippi shop owner Joseph A. Biedenharn began bottling Coca?Cola after he was impressed by its sales. He sold the drink to his customers in a common glass bottle called a Hutchinson, but Bottlers worried that a straight-sided bottle wasn't distinctive enough and that Coca?Cola was becoming easily confused with copycat brands. Glass manufacturers were approached to come up with a unique bottle design for Coca?Cola. The Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, designed with the famous contour shape, which won enthusiastic approval from Coca?Cola in 1915 and was introduced in 1916. The newest one is the Share a Coke campaign invented in 2013.

  • johanna.galloway34
    3/03/2015 - 01:09 p.m.

    The best known bottle is obviously the Coca-Cola bottle. Root-Beer was the second best. I never really drank out of a bottle before. I saw that Coca-Cola was made out of a type of syrup to make this amazing drink. I looked up of who invented Coca-Cola, it was John Pemberton. It was introduced in 1886.

  • AlexisKrise
    3/03/2015 - 01:39 p.m.

    At first, the Coca-Cola bottle wasn't in existence. They had to start up the company and make something to go /into/ the bottles before they could even think about making a design for the bottle. Everything starts small and gets bigger over time.

  • Ashleypatt
    3/03/2015 - 01:51 p.m.

    Coca cola as been invented for a very long time. They company as been opened way longer then they had bottles of coke. Shortly after the company has been open they invented glass coca cola bottles to sell. Then they went to plastic bottles then cans. Coca cola is very original and I dont think they will ever get ride of this company.

  • CharismaM
    3/03/2015 - 01:53 p.m.

    I would love to see this exhibition. Andy Warhol is one of my favorite artists and I enjoy looking at his work. Coca-Cola is definitely known worldwide and pretty much anyone can identify the bottle.

  • tateo-And
    3/03/2015 - 03:32 p.m.

    The Coca-Cola Company is older then the Coca-Cola bottle because when the Company first opened they didn't use the Coca-Cola bottle to put there drinks in.

  • maggiec-And
    3/03/2015 - 04:01 p.m.

    I learned that the Coca-Cola bottle is the most well known bottle in the world and that the company is older than the bottle. I think that the company is older because when Coca-cola started, they didn't use the bottle.

  • josiahn-DiB
    3/03/2015 - 06:20 p.m.

    i think this article is interesting i didnt know that the coca-cols company has been around so long. the coca-cola bottle is also original too and i can tell one when i see it broken, at first i had no idea the company had them at museums so it must be important.

  • MaxG-4
    3/03/2015 - 06:57 p.m.

    To start the question... sort of messed up

    This article is about the opening of a museum that will be dedicated to Coca Cola. It will include old designs, advertisements, and the logo or design just appearing in photos or pictures. It will come from periods ranging from 1915, a.k.a Medieval Times, to today. It is surprising to many the now, 100 years after the original design, that the logo and design are still recognizable to many in over 140 countries.

    I like this article for two main reasons
    1) This is an article about culture, history, and the building of something many people love today and
    2) I like Coca-Cola a lot. A lot. Really a lot.

  • gerquincy
    3/04/2015 - 08:40 a.m.

    I think this is the beat bottle because it was us in the 80's i perversion like it because it's cool to me and pepol.

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