Coca-Cola bottle patent, 1915
Coca-Cola bottle patent, 1915 Records of the Patent and Trademark Office, National Archives

See the Original Coke Bottle Patent Granted 100 Years Ago

Nov 16, 2015

See 99 other Coke patents here.

It was exactly a century ago Monday that the U.S. Patent Office granted design patent No. 48,160 to the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Ind.

The design patented Nov. 16, 1915 is still recognizable today: the Coca-Cola bottle, one of the first examples of a beverage company differentiating itself by its packaging. The original patent is currently on display at the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C.

Coca-Cola bottle patent, 1915 Records of the Patent and Trademark Office, National Archives 

Of course, Coke itself is much older than the iconic bottle. As TIME explained when Coca-Cola Company founder Asa Candler was ailing in 1926, Candler was working in a drugstore in Atlanta in the late 1880s when he decided to begin selling a product called Coca-Cola, invented by one Dr. Pemberton. By the end of the decade, Candler had a stake in Pemberton's business; by 1900 he owned it outright.

Though the original product was called Coca-Cola, it didn't then come in the iconic bottles for which the product would become known. The unit of measurement for Coke was glasses, dispensed at a soda counter. In 1926, Americans drank, per TIME, 7 million "little brown glasses" a day.

The need for uniform packaging, however, was clear.

And once the bottle was introduced, Coca-Cola made sure that it really was uniform: as international bottling plants opened around the world, manufacturers were warned against "Bums (bottles so disreputable that they must be discarded), Crocks (bottles chipped on the bottom) and Scuffles (bottles chipped around the trademark)," TIME noted in a 1950 cover story about the company's spread around the globe.

But that's not to say that the bottle was the same one represented in the original patent application: the bottle in the drawing would have been so heavy on top that it couldn't stand up. When Coca-Cola introduced its bottles in 1916, a year after the patent was granted, the design had been slightly modified—but the iconic curves in the original patent are still recognizable today.

Read TIME's 1950 cover story about Coke's success around the world, here in the TIME Vault: The Sun Never Sets on Cacoola

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The style of bed and platen printing press in this patent model inspired Issac Adams’ design of the later Adams Power Press, which was praised by early 19th century printers for its production of quality book work.
Printing Press, 1830: Issac Adams, (Unnumbered Patent) The style of bed and platen printing press in this patent model inspired Issac Adams’ design of the later Adams Power Press, which was praised by early 19th century printers for its production of quality book work.Courtesy Smithsonian National Museum of American History
The style of bed and platen printing press in this patent model inspired Issac Adams’ design of the later Adams Power Press, which was praised by early 19th century printers for its production of quality book work.
Samuel F. B. Morse converted an artist’s canvas stretcher into a telegraph receiver that recorded a message as a wavy line on a strip of paper. His telegraph transmitter sent electric pulses representing letter and numbers that activated an electromagnet on the receiver.
Violin, 1852: William S. Mount, (Patent No. 8981). William S. Mount proposed creating violins with concave or hollow backs. This patent model represented a design innovation that would minimize the strain on the violin soundboard and avoid interference with the “sonorous and vibrating qualities” of the instrument.
Sewing Machine, 1873: Helen Blanchard, (Patent No. 141987) This patent model for an improvement in sewing machines introduced the buttonhole stitch. Blanchard received some 28 patents, many having to do with sewing. She is best remembered for another overstitch sewing invention, the “zigzag.”
Camera Shutter, 1879: Eadweard Muybridge, (Patent No. 212865) This “Method and Apparatus for Photographing Objects in Motion” was adapted to photographic equipment. As demonstrated with this patent model, it could produce images of subjects in rapid motion. It was used by Eadweard Muybridge in his celebrated animal locomotion photography.
Incandescent Lamp, 1881: Thomas Edison (Patent No. 239373) Thomas Edison submitted this model to patent a variation on his newly invented light bulb. Although he never put this design into production, this lamp could be disassembled to replace a burned-out filament.
Stephanie Kwolek (Patent Nos. 3819587 and RE30352): High-Strength Fiber, 1965 Stephanie Kwolek’s 1965 discovery at DuPont of strong polymer fibers resulted in DuPont Kevlar, best known for its use in bullet-resistant body armor and used in myriad other applications.
Steve Jobs (Patent No. 7166791) & Steve Wozniak (Patent No. 4136359): Apple I Computer, 1976. In 1976 the first form of computer designed by Stephen Wozniak and sold by Wozniak in conjunction with Steve Jobs was sold, and became a leader in personal computing. Originally marketed to hobbyists only primarily as a fully assembled circuit board; purchasers had to add their own case and monitor in order to create a working computer.
Artificial Heart, 1977: Robert Jarvik, M.D., Prototype. This electrohydraulic artificial heart is a prototype for what became the Jarvik-7 Total Artificial Heart, which was first implanted into a human in December 1982 at the University of Utah Medical Center. The two sides of the device are connected with Velcro.
Printing Press, 1830: Issac Adams, (Unnumbered Patent) The style of bed and platen printing press in this patent model
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Courtesy Smithsonian National Museum of American History
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