From Andy Warhol to Volkswagen, the Coca-Cola bottle has been immortalized in art and popular culture. But do you know the story behind its shape? In 1899, lawyers Joseph Whitehead and Benjamin Thomas wanted to buy the rights to bottle Coca-Cola. Till then, the drink was popular as a soda fountain. They signed a contract, and by 1920, there were over 1,200 Coca-Cola bottling operations in the US. But with anything that is popular come the imitators. Various competing brands copied not just the straight glass bottle, but also the logo. With names like Koka-Nola, Ma Coca-Co, Toka-Cola and even Koke—consumers were often confused about what they were purchasing. In 1906, the Coca-Cola Co. introduced a diamond-shaped label with a colourful trademark, but the labels would peel off when stored in ice-cold water. It then proposed the bottling community to develop a “bottle so distinct that you would recognize it by feel in the dark or lying broken on the ground". In Terre Haute, Indiana, the Root Glass Co. sought inspiration for this brief from a simple cocoa bean with an elongated shape and distinct ribs. The company won a patent registration in 1915 and by the next year had signed a contract with Coca-Cola to make the now iconic glass bottles.

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