A prototype for the Coca-Cola bottle which failed to meet requirements has sold for $240,000 at an auction which took place on Saturday. The curvy bottle which was produced 86 years ago is very different to the glass bottle in circulation at present, it has a wider middle but definitely still looks like the bottle that can be recognised as Coca-Cola’s.
Earl R. Dean
The grandson called Brian Dean of the bottle’s designer Earl R. Dean, revealed that the bottle is only one of two in existence, the other one is owned by the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co.
The ‘contour’ Coca-Cola prototype bottle was designed by Dean almost 100 years ago and the original sketch has already sold for $228,000. During the early part of the company’s history the majority of beverages were packed in very generic, straight-sided bottles, as such bottlers worried that Coca-Cola would be lost in the crowd.
This prompted them to create one that stood out from the crowd so it would be easily identifiable. Benjamin Thomas, Coca-Cola’s co-founder, said: “We need a bottle which a person can recognize as a Coca-Cola bottle when he feels it in the dark.”
Despite much effort in the design process and trying to get ahead of the other competition the bottle never actually made it to production, the problem was its middle diameter which was made larger than the base and this caused it be unbalanced on conveyor belts.
The original design was consequently modified by Dean and it was then the first bottle granted trademark status by the United States Patent Office.
The auction of the bottle took place at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, a home to the rich who would have been attracted to a piece of history that comes with a company that link’s the world over.
Transcends the drinks market
According to the auction, it was the vertical grooves on the cacao pod which inspired the design, Dean noticed these while in the research part of the journey.
Coca-Cola is one of the largest companies in the world, wherever you go people will have heard of the drink and the name is able to bridge the language barrier. While people may not know how to say ‘hello’ in each other’s languages, when you say ‘Coca-Cola’ they do understand. It has transcended the drinks market and has become a very well known household name.