Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum

Vicksburg Foundation for
Historic Preservation

1107 Washington Street
Vicksburg, MS  39183

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About Biedenharn

The Origins of
Bottled Coke

The Origin of
the Bottle

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Origins of the Coca-Cola Bottle

When Joe Biedenharn decided to bottle Coca-Cola, he used the bottles that he had on hand, those that he was using to bottle soda water using equipment he had bought from the Sarasota Springs operation. These were Hutchinson blob-top bottles embossed with "Biedenharn Candy Company, Vicksburg, Miss."  

These bottles were sealed with a rubber disk that was pushed into the neck of the bottle and held with a wire. The bottles were used for only a short time because the rubber changed the flavor of the drink after about a week. 

In the early 1900s, Joe switched to straight-sided crown bottles which maintained the integrity of the true taste of Coca-Cola. They did not, however, give any uniformity to the packaging image of the beverage. The color of the glass varied from clear and aqua to differing shades of blue, green and amber. 

In addition, the amount of liquid that a bottle contained varied from 6-7 ounces. The early straight-sided crown bottles were hand blown in molds which often left rough seams, bubbles, imperfections and irregular areas of thick and thin glass.  After 1910, the bottles were machine-made and became more uniform. Biedenharn straight-sides were embossed with "Biedenharn Candy Company, Vicksburg, Miss.," with Coca-Cola in script across the base in some cases. 

By 1913, those involved in the Coca-Cola Company saw the need for a distinctive package in order to fight imitators. Ben Thomas, one of the original patent bottlers, noted that "we need a bottle which a person can recognize as a Coca-Cola bottle when he feels it in the dark.”  

As a result of some inaccurate research by the team at Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, a bottle was designed that resembled the cacao bean, the source of chocolate instead of the coca bean. Nonetheless, the Root Glass Company bested eight other competitors at a meeting of the seven bottlers in 1916.

The exaggerated center section was trimmed down and the “contour” bottle, or “Mae West” bottle or “Hobble skirt” bottle, whichever name you chose, was born.  The bottle was recognized by the United States patent office in 1960, a distinction among bottles shared at the time by only one other.


Coca-Cola and Coke are registered trademarks 
of The Coca-Cola Company



Straight Side