Coca-Cola Author Doug McCoy on the Beverage Company's Bottles

March 18th, 2010

In this interview, Doug McCoy explains how the Coca-Cola bottle got its distinctive contour shape and charts the evolution of the brand’s packaging over its more than 100-year history. McCoy also offers tips on how to find old dumpsites that might contain Coca-Cola treasures, and explains the story of the rare 8-ounce bottle that sold in Lexington, North Carolina during the 1960s. To learn more about McCoy, visit his blog at or check out his book, “The Coca-Cola Bottle”.

My grandfather got me started collecting bottles when I was about eight years old. A couple of years later, I was walking along a creek and saw a bottle sticking out of a sandbar in the water. I couldn’t get to it to tell what kind of bottle it was. So I ran all the way home and dragged my dad there to get it for me.

It was a 6.5-ounce Coca-Cola bottle from about 1948. I was fascinated by it because I’d never seen the design before. When I was a kid, they sold painted applied color label (ACL) bottles in the stores, not embossed bottles like this one. It had the city and state marking at the bottom. I wanted to know more about it. That began my interest in Coca-Cola bottles.

I’d bring home just about any kind of unusual bottle, but my collecting became more focused over the years. In my teens, I packed away all my bottles and forgot about them. Years later, when I was cleaning out my parents’ attic and I came across all the bottles, I went through each box to see what I had. I’ve been collecting ever since.

In the 1990s I decided to collect every type of returnable bottle that Coca-Cola had used in the U.S. going back to the 1890s. Back before disposable bottles, you’d pay a deposit on the bottle when you bought a soft drink. You’d take it home and then take the empty bottle back with you the next time you went to the grocery store. They’d give you back your deposit. The grocery store would return the bottle to the bottler, where they’d clean it, wash it, refill it, cap it, and send it back out to the stores.

The reason why returnable bottles persisted until the 1990s is because some of the established smaller bottlers didn’t want to change their equipment. To go from returnable glass bottles to no-deposit bottles required new filling and capping equipment. Some of them didn’t have the money to make the transition. So they continued using returnable bottles until about the 1990s, when they were finally forced to go to no-deposit bottles.

Collectors Weekly: Have you always focused on returnable bottles?

McCoy: That’s pretty much what I collect, although I do have some no-deposit, no-return bottles. Coca-cola experimented with them in the ’60s, and then quit using them until they brought them back in a few areas in the ’70s. I don’t really collect them per se, but if I find an unusual one, I’ll usually take it home with me.

The first no-deposit, no-return bottles were used before recycling was really big. People just threw them away. They’re hard to find now because they were made of very thin glass. They’d break easily. They’ve only recently become popular with collectors. The styles of those bottles changed a lot, so there are a lot of variations to collect.

Not all of the early Coca-Cola no-deposit, no-return bottles had a contour shape. Bottle manufacturers couldn’t do it because the glass was so thin. They used an embossed diamond-shaped label that said “Coca-Cola.” The outline of the contour bottle was also embossed on that bottle. Those are pretty popular. There was also a paper-label no-deposit, no-return bottle that had a red-and-white-checkered pattern with Coca-Cola logos on it. Those are very hard to find with the paper label still intact. They sell for a couple hundred dollars, or more.

Collectors Weekly: Where do you find the bottles you collect?

McCoy: There are still places in the woods near my house where I dig them up. I’ve gone through that area a lot, digging and finding bottles and various things. Bottles also show up on eBay, and I go to antique bottle shows. The Coca-Cola Collectors Club is also a great place to find bottles. We have conventions and get-togethers.

Collectors Weekly: Do people usually specialize in a specific type of bottle?

McCoy: Some people collect only the very early Coca-Cola bottles, or the straight-sided bottles that were used in the early 1900s. Other people go for the five styles of embossed contour bottles. I collect both the embossed and ACL bottles.

“There are still places in the woods near my house where I dig them up.”

With the ACL bottles, the Coca-Cola and Coke logos were actually baked onto the glass. Those came out in 1955 and were used until the ’90s. Like the embossed bottles, they changed a little every few years. In the 1970s, they came out with an ACL bottle that had a red background and Coca-Cola written in white.

Through the years there were slight changes to the wording underneath the logo. “Coca-Cola” stayed the same, but there were differences on whether it said, “trademark,” or whether it had the bottle patent date.

Collectors Weekly: Would you tell us about your book, “The Coca-Cola Bottle?”

The classic, 6.5-ounce return-for-deposit, ACL Coca-Cola bottle.

The classic, 6.5-ounce return-for-deposit, ACL Coca-Cola bottle.

McCoy: Sure. Like I said, I’d decided to try to collect every type of returnable bottle ever made in the U.S. Collectors had already categorized most of them, like the straight-sided bottles or the five embossed ones, but nothing much had been done with the applied color label bottles.

When I decided to collect the ACLs, I needed to catalog my collection so that I could communicate what I was looking for to other collectors. The book started out as a quick-reference guide that I used myself. I gave copies to members of my family because they would go out and find bottles for me.

Somebody from the Coca-Cola Club also asked me for a copy and then encouraged me to expand it into a book. I started working on the book in 2002. Phil Mooney, the head of Coca-Cola’s archives, was very helpful when I went there. He let me look through some of the records, and I found a lot of great information on these bottles.

The book is like two books in one. The first part is the history of the bottles and an explanation of why they were created. The second part is the quick-reference guide with photographs of the bottles, the years they were made, and the sizes.

Collectors Weekly: When were the bottles introduced?

McCoy: The earliest Coca-Cola bottle was the Hutchinson Stopper bottle. Those were used from 1894 into the early 1900s. The straight-sided bottle came after that and was used from the early 1900s to about 1916. The next ones to come along were the five embossed bottles. Those were the first contour-shaped bottles, what’s come to be known as “the Coke bottle.” The first one of those was a 1915 patent bottle. The next one was the Christmas bottle that was used from 1927 to 1938. The Patent D bottle was used from 1938 to 1951. The 6-ounce U.S. Patent Office bottle was in use from 1951 to 1958. The 6.5-ounce U.S. Patent bottle, an embossed bottle, was around from 1957 to 1967.

The first ACL bottle, which was called the transition bottle, was used from 1955 to ’61. Next was the 1961 ACL bottle, which was used until ’63. The ’63 ACL was used until 1965, the ’65 ACL until 1968, and the ’68 ACL was used into the ’90s. There was also a 1972 ACL bottle, with a red and white label, that was also used up to the 1990s.

In 1976, ACL metric-sized bottles were introduced and used into the ’90s. They made an oddball ACL bottle in 1985 when they made “new Coke.” A few months later, they changed back to the classic formula and made a specific bottle just for that. It said “Coca-Cola Classic” on the bottle. That’s the only bottle that’s got “Classic” written on it. All the others just have “Coca-Cola” and “Coke.”

Collectors Weekly: How was Coca-Cola first bottled?

McCoy: The Hutchinson bottle came out in the 1870s. A lot of companies used that type of bottle, not just soda people. It was the only halfway decent stopper out at the time. Joseph Biedenharn, who ran a candy store in Vicksburg, Mississippi, was one of the first to use the Hutchinson Stopper bottle for his sodas, including Coke. He wasn’t authorized to do that by Coca-Cola, but he saw that by bottling the drinks, he could take them to parties and picnics.

There were others in Georgia who used the Hutchinson bottle. Then in 1899, Chattanooga, Tennessee, became the site of the first Coca-Cola bottling company. They used specially ordered Hutchinson Stopper bottles with “Coca-Cola” embossed on them. Their other bottles were generic—you could put whatever drink you wanted into them and put a paper label on it.

Collectors Weekly: Why did bottlers eventually move away from the Hutchinson?

Coca-Cola was bottled in returnable Hutchinson bottles from 1894 to the early 1900s.

McCoy: The Hutchinson bottle had issues. It had a wire stopper that you pushed down with your hand. If you put something heavy on top of the bottles when you were transporting them, they would pop open. Even sealed, the drinks would only be good for five or six days. So around 1900, the crown bottle cap was introduced. It’s the bottle cap with the lip on it that’s still used today. William Painter invented it.

Soft drink bottlers immediately saw the benefit of this type of cap because it had to be pried off of the bottles. That made a big difference in the bottling industry, not just for Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola bottlers stopped using the Hutchinson bottle and a lot of them switched to the crown-cap bottles. By this time, a lot of the bottlers had begun to use the straight-sided bottle. It became the bottle for soft drinks.

As Coca-Cola started to take off, other companies like Koca-Nola and My Coca Company began imitating them. Their bottles looked very similar. Unsuspecting customers who thought they were picking up a Coke actually had some other brand. The Coca-Cola Company decided they needed to do something about it. That’s when they came up with the contour bottle.

The Coca-Cola Company had a contest among several glass bottle manufacturing companies for a new design. They told the bottlers they wanted a distinctive design that would allow them to continue using their equipment for the straight-sided bottle. There were several candidates. But when Coca-Cola saw the contour shape, they knew it was the one. You could pick it up in the dark and know it was a Coca-Cola bottle. They patented it in 1915.

Collectors Weekly: Did they make bottles in other shapes?

McCoy: It’s pretty much been the contour shape since then. Even the 20-ounce plastic bottles now have an approximation of the contour shape. That was just their signature bottle shape. There are a couple of larger returnable bottles that they couldn’t do that with because of the size. They came out with a 64-ounce bottle in ’72 and a 2-liter in ’76. They tried to make them contour-shaped, but the bottles would end up breaking. So they only made them for a very short time. They made them in what they call a straight-wall design.

As far back as the 1930s they also made special promotional bottles, but most of these were for in-house use. Such bottles might have been used as awards for a high-selling bottler or a salesman who had the best route. They also made special bottles just for employees. I think it was in the 1970s when they started making commemorative bottles for sports teams. They started making a lot of different commemorative bottles, such as Christmas bottles, because they realized there was a market for them.

I don’t really collect commemorative bottles, but some people collect them exclusively. They still make them for different events, like the Olympics. The commemoratives are a popular area of bottle collecting.

Collectors Weekly: What are some of the most rare bottles out there?

McCoy: I’d say some of the Hutchinson bottles. They were only used for five or six years. Not that many were made to begin with, and the bottlers were still fairly small. When they started using the crown-cap bottles, they just took all the Hutchinsons to the dump.

Early paper labels such as this diamond design are relatively rare.

Hutchinson bottles were selling for as much as $4,000 a couple of years ago, but with the economy the way it is, I saw a very nice Hutchinson bottle from a plant in Birmingham, Alabama, sell for $1,700—the asking price had been $2,000. Hutchinsons are very hard to find. If you dig up one, they’re usually not in very good shape. Most collectors want a bottle that’s pristine.

There were thousands of variations of the straight-sided bottles. Some were manufactured in small towns, so they didn’t make a lot of bottles for the area. Some of the more expensive straight-sided bottles probably sell for $200 to $300. I’ve seen some from very small towns go for as much as $1,000. By the time of the contour bottle, though, Coca-Cola was fairly well established, and a lot were made. Some of the early embossed-contour bottles came from small towns that no longer exist. Those are usually worth $75 or $100.

Collectors Weekly: Did the manufacturers put their names on the bottles?

McCoy: The actual bottle maker, or the glass manufacturing company, used a maker’s mark. The early bottles, like the Hutchinson bottles, just had a letter or two on them, not a specific logo. Some didn’t have any markings at all. With the straight-sided bottles, the manufacturer put marks in different places. It depended on the company. Some put them on the bottom, but most are toward the heel on the front part of the bottle.

In the early years, they usually used letters like CHATT, which stood for Chattanooga Glass Company, and LGW, which stood for Laurens Glass Works. In the 1930s and ’40s, they created little logos for their company. Chattanooga Glass changed their logo from the four letters to a “C ” inside a circle. It looked like the copyright symbol. Owens-Illinois had a very similar looking logo. It was diamond-shaped with an “I” in the middle for “Illinois.” From 1915 on, there’s a maker’s mark somewhere on the bottle.

Collectors Weekly: Did these companies manufacture more than just Coca-Cola bottles?

McCoy: Glass companies had catalogues with every kind of bottle imaginable. You could buy generic bottles for aspirin, milk, ketchup—you name it. But the Coca-Cola design was patented. They wanted control over who was making their bottles.

Coca-Cola inspected its bottle makers to ensure that they met certain specifications. They wanted the bottles to be very good quality glass. Most glass manufacturing companies made all kinds of bottles, but they had to be authorized as far as Coke bottles went.

As I mentioned, Chattanooga Glass and Owens-Illinois were two prominent Coca-Cola bottlers. Root Glass Company out of Terre Haute, Indiana, was one of the biggest. They actually designed the contour bottle; they came up with the idea. So when Coke first started using that bottle, for a few years only the Root Glass Company made it. Of course the Root Glass Company couldn’t keep up with demand for the entire country, so they helped Coca-Cola by finding other manufacturers that could make the bottle.

Collectors Weekly: Were there bottlers all over the country?

Prior to its clear or green contour-shaped bottles, Coca-Cola sold its product in straight-sided bottles.

McCoy: After the first one in Chattanooga in 1899, one appeared in Atlanta in 1900, and another in Alabama in 1902. Some of the bigger ones were on the West Coast, including one in Los Angeles that also started in 1902. That was a big year for new Coke bottlers. They opened up in major cities because of the larger customer base and because of the access to rail lines to get supplies and ship the product to outlying areas.

They started with two bottling plants in 1900 and reached over 1,000 bottling plants by 1929. They spread into the smaller cities, too, but they’ve really scaled back in recent years. A lot of families bought Coca-Cola bottling franchises in the early days. Some of the bottlers in smaller towns started consolidating or closing by the 1970s.

Coca-Cola Enterprises started buying up some of these bottlers in the 1980s. There are maybe 700 bottlers in the U.S. That’s down from upwards of 5,000 at the peak. They’re able to cover a much wider area with the trucks, trains, and large amount of Coke produced through automated systems.

In the early days, the bottles were made here and shipped overseas. Now the Coca-Cola Company exports the syrup, and then the overseas bottlers add carbonated water, bottle it, and distribute it.

Coca-Cola approves all the label designs and other aspects of the product overseas, too. These elements are written in the local language: Chinese, Thai, and Hebrew among many others.

Collectors Weekly: Are those collectible as well?

McCoy: Yes, very collectible. They started bottling Coca-Cola in Canada around 1904, using the straight-sided bottles. So those are sought after. There are thousands of varieties of foreign ACL bottles from the ’70s and ’80s. They’re very popular and collectible. Occasionally one will catch my eye, and I’ll get it.

Collectors Weekly: Is a bottle’s rarity ever based on who manufactured it?

McCoy: Sometimes. The city and state of the bottler is embossed on the bottom of the bottle. That can increase a bottle’s value. A lot of the molds were handmade, so there are also error bottles. They had to carve out everything backwards so that when it’s embossed in the glass, it will look correct to us. Sometimes the mold makers would get things backwards.

Some early straight-sided bottles were clear; all were returnable.

I live in Marietta, Georgia, and there’s a bottle where the “E” in “Marietta” is backwards. Marietta bottles are fairly common, but I always go through them to see if there’s one with the backwards E. I’ve found a couple. The glass manufacturing company usually destroyed error bottles before they got out of the factory. Coca-Cola had strict standards and didn’t want mistakes on those bottles.

Bottles also show up every so often with paper labels, but you have to look closely because the label could have been reproduced. If the bottles were ever cooled in ice buckets, the label would come right off. Sometimes the bottling families will have leftover labels that were never used. It’s really hard to prove that a label is original.

Regarding Hutchinson bottles, in most cases you can’t tell if it was a Coca-Cola bottle without the label. The ones that were used at the Biedenharn Candy Company are marked with “Biedenharn Candy Company, Vicksburg, Mississippi.” He did make other sodas and bottle them, but a lot of collectors say the bottles probably had Coca-Cola in them at one point. He would send out orange drinks in one order and when the bottles came back he’d wash off the labels, put a Coca-Cola label on the bottle, and send it back out again.

The returnable bottles would be shipped out of the factory and then come back, get refilled, and get sent back out again. The Biedenharns are worth more money than ones with no embossing whatsoever because there’s no way to know where those came from or what was in them. Other companies used the Hutchinson bottle, not just soda companies.

Collectors Weekly: Did Coca-Cola make different colored bottles?

McCoy: They did on the very early bottles. The Hutchinson bottles came in clear or aqua. That was just because early bottle manufacturing processes weren’t that advanced. You have to mix certain sands and ingredients to come up with a bottle of a certain color. If it’s not mixed exactly the same, it may be a little different color each time you make a bottle. With the Hutchinson bottles and the straight-sided bottles, there’s a lot of variation in colors.

Some bottlers wanted to use amber bottles, kind of a beer-bottle brown. They felt the labels showed up better on those bottles. But once Coca-Cola wanted a unique bottle, they specified that it needed to be Georgia green.

There are some slight color variations in the 1915 contour bottles because the bottlers couldn’t always get the formula right for the exact color. But by the time they made the 1923 Christmas bottle, they pretty much had the color down pat.

Collectors Weekly: Do they still make Georgia green glass bottles?

McCoy: They do here. They’re 8-ounce, ACL labeled no-return bottles. They’re kind of the Georgia green color. They still use a lot of returnable bottles overseas. Some of those bottles are Georgia green. Some use just the clear bottle. It’s the contour shape, but it’s clear.

Collectors Weekly: What’s the most common size of Coca-Cola bottle?

McCoy: On average probably the 6.5-ounce size because they made that size for so long. They made it from 1915 to 1967. There are a lot of those out there. They didn’t start to make larger sizes until 1955.

They made 10- and 12-ounce king-size bottles. They used the 10-ounce bottles in the southeast and the 12-ounce bottles in the north. There was also a 26-ounce bottle.

They made an 8-ounce bottle for just one city in North Carolina. North Carolina is Pepsi territory, and Coca-Cola was trying to get its foot in the door there. So a bottler in Lexington, North Carolina, asked Coca-Cola to make an 8-ounce because the Pepsi bottler there had one that was selling for the same price as Coca-Cola’s 6.5-ounce bottle. That was in the 1960s. They used it for about 10 years. It’s one of the harder bottles to find because they only used it in that one little area.

Collectors Weekly: How did bottling change Coca-Cola’s business?

Some newer bottles have not lent themselves to the contour shape, such as these two-liter bottles, which are packed six to a crate.

McCoy: Soft drinks were very popular when Coke came out. But very few of them were bottled. They were available from soda fountains, which were usually inside a drug store. Coke was seen as a seasonal drink, just for spring and summer. Asa Candler, the owner of Coca-Cola at the time, didn’t see a future in bottling Coke. He felt he was making enough money already.

Three lawyers from Chattanooga felt differently. They asked Candler for a license to bottle Coca-Cola, and he agreed. Once it got going, it grew more than they probably ever imagined.

They were able to distribute farther outside metropolitan areas. People just really enjoyed the drink. It increased their marketing area and sales. Coca-Cola sold the syrup to the bottling plants, and that also increased their revenue.

Collectors Weekly: Was the public excited about soda in bottles from the beginning?

McCoy: Yes, very much so. All of a sudden, people living out in the country had access to something they could formerly only get in the city. To spread the word, they sent out hundreds of coupons for a free bottle of Coca-Cola. You could take it to a local store and the bottler would reimburse the store. Samples were one of the main advertising methods. Painted signs were also used a lot. Then they started sponsoring the Olympics in the 1920s as a way to get their name out there.

Collectors Weekly: When did the six-pack appear?

McCoy: Six-packs didn’t come around until about the 1930s. Before that, bottles were shipped in wooden crates [see photo at top]. In the very early years, they were shipped by wagon. If you were a salesman, your sales area was as far as your wagon could go unless you had access to a train.

Originally the salesmen were just selling to stores and restaurants, but I think they realized that the six-pack would work well in grocery stores because women usually did the shopping in those days. What woman’s going to want to haul 24 bottles out of the store? Also, people didn’t want to take that many bottles home. They really didn’t drink Coke like a lot of people do now. It was more of a treat. You might have it if you had company coming over. So the six-pack in the easy-to-carry cardboard box was perfect.

Collectors Weekly: What advice do you have for somebody new to collecting vintage Coca-Cola bottles?

McCoy: I’d say do some research on the Internet or at a library. Read about the subject and try to get a feel for the value of the bottles. A lot of people get into bottle collecting and spend a substantial amount of money for a bottle that’s not worth what they just paid for it.

I’ve really learned a lot from members of the Coca-Cola Collectors Club. You can find somebody who collects what you’re looking for and who will be able to give you all kinds of great information. There are also antique bottle clubs that you can find on the Internet and antique bottle shows all across the U.S.

Collectors Weekly: What are some of your favorite bottles in your collection?

McCoy: Some of my favorites are the error bottles. I have one with an upside-down Coca-Cola logo. People who worked the nightshift would make bottles incorrectly and sneak them out of the factory. Some of those have made their way onto eBay. You can also find some with incorrect colors. I really enjoy trying to find different variations of those bottles. Some of my other favorites are the bottles with the red and white labels that they used in the 1970s. They’re very eye-catching and make a great display.

Collectors Weekly: Did they make bottles in wrong colors?

McCoy: Not completely wrong. For example, some of the error bottles are in 7-Up green—a lime-green colored glass—rather than Georgia green, or maybe a very light shade of amber. What would happen is that employees at a glass manufacturing company were probably making similar green-glass bottles and decided to run a few through using the Coca-Cola bottle mold.

The glass manufacturing companies frowned on that, but sometimes the people who worked in the factories would take these deliberate errors home and display them. Some of them made their way into collectors’ hands.

Collectors Weekly: Do you have any memorable digging or collecting adventures you’d care to share?

McCoy: One time in the early ’90s I went digging for bottles in the Atlanta area. They had just started to do a lot of construction work for the 1996 Olympics. They were tearing down a lot of old buildings, some of which had been built on top of trash dumps. I knew there’d be a lot of old bottles in those places, but getting permission to dig was very hard.

The color of an embossed Coca-Cola bottle is known as Georgia Green.

A friend of mine, who’s also a bottle collector, was working for an engineering firm that was taking core samples out of the ground for building purposes. He asked me if I’d like to help him with that job part-time. So we got access to a lot of the construction areas. We found a lot of great bottles in the older dumps, like some rare Coca-Cola bottles from the early 1900s. A lot of different variations were made for the Atlanta bottler. Every weekend for four or five months, I got to go digging for bottles.

Of course, the condition is an issue with bottles that are dug up. In the south, the soil is a little acidic so the bottles come out with a frosted, iridescent look to them. They can be cleaned off with a bottle tumbler, which is like a rock tumbler. It removes a very thin layer of the glass and the frosted part from the bottle. You sometimes find bottles down here that aren’t heavily frosted like that.

By contrast, up in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana, you can dig up a bottle and it will look brand new after you wash it. It just comes down to the type of soil the bottle is buried in. Of course, you find a lot of chipped, cracked, or broken bottles, too.

Finding these places is really just blind luck sometimes. It also comes down to imagining where people will throw their trash if they’re out fishing or something. Are they going to go to the nearest trashcan, or are they just going to toss it off into a ditch near the lake? Over the years, I’ve learned to judge from the terrain where people are likely to dump bottles.

Libraries and universities usually have some older maps of the cities and particular areas or counties. A lot of the old county maps will show where a particular dumpsite used to be. Then you have to match that map with a modern map to figure out where that area is now. If it’s not developed, you can find out who owns the property and get permission to dig.

(All images in this article courtesy Doug McCoy)

446 comments so far

  1. Andrew Says:

    Hi Doug,
    thanks for your time. I have 4 x classic coke bottles that seem quite old, red tops that read classic coke original formula, they are still full and embossed on the bottom, they are have,EL PASO, INDEPENDANCE, PRESCOTT, KEARNEY. could you let me know what year of manufacture these may be

  2. Vickie Vincent Says:

    I found a bottle in my garden that looks just like the green coke bottles. It has no writing on the side except near the base it has the number 6828. It has nothing stating how many ounces but it looks to be about 6 oz. On the bottom of the bottle it reads, Murfreesboro Tenn, Bottle Trade Mark, looks like a D in a circle. There is a C in a circle and a number 2 below the circled C. All of the writing on the bottle is raised glass. I’m wondering if you can give me some information on this bottle and is it actually a coke bottle.
    I am very curious about the bottle and appreciate any information you can give me.
    Thank you so much. Love reading the information you have passed on.

  3. Bonnie Stewart Says:

    Hi Doug,
    When I cleaned out by parent’s basement upon their deaths’, I found 25 crates that holds 8 2-liter bottles. I’d like to know if these can be returned for deposit that was paid and where would I take them?

    Thanks for you help!

  4. Cathy Wilson Says:

    Hi, I have a 6 0z bottle. It has Little Rock ARK. on the bottom along with a w and a 1 that is in the center. Under the Cursive Coca Cola it say Trademark Registered in US patent office. The other said says Trademark Registered Min.contents 6 fl ozs. The lower numbers on the side says 56 09. Im asumming this is the date it was bottled. There is no D on the bottle and no deposite markings.. I have been looking all over googles to find something on it.. Hope you can help. Thanks so much!

  5. Ed Says:

    Doug, Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us. My Dad owned a drug store and I worked my way through college in a grocery story, so Coke bottles, crates, jugs and equipment were part of my life for a very long time. I am interested in the evolution of Coca-Cola crates. I picked one up a couple of years ago that is red, re-printed and re-embossed over a yellow crate. I’d love to know when that transition took place. Have a great day! Ed

  6. Jeremy Says:


    I dug up a perfect condition staight-sided coke bottle. On the side it reads, THIS BOTTLE PROPERTY OF BIRMINGHAM COCA-COLA BOTTLING CO.”. On the bottom is C.B.G.C.O. 81. Might you be able to identify the date/value of the bottle? Thanks in advance.

  7. Brian Wilson Says:

    I have 2 straight sided coke bottles. One has the diamond label, not paper. The label shows the bottle being a commemorative celebrating the opening of the bottling plant in western, North Carolina and its full, never opened. the other has the paper label, its empty and in a commemorative box. Also I have a straight sided Dr. Pepper bottle. It has no label the “Dr. Pepper with the words good for life” under it embossed into the glass, along with 10, 2, and 4 clock embossed on the back. We also have 2 1pt glass no deposit, no return and coke label embossed into glass. I also have 2 32 oz dr. pepper bottles commemorating Roger staubach. Also I have 500ml unopened coke from mexico. All words are in spanish, and the words MR Coke under the coca-cola in the label. This is just a minute percentage of the coca-cola products that we have. I would like to know if any of these have any value. Thank you.

  8. Brian Wilson Says:

    I also have a clear glass bottle made by the Owens-Illinois co. It is 12″ to 15″ has a crown cap top on an applied finish, I think. The neck is approximately 8 to 9″ tall and about an inch in diameter. The shoulder slants to an angle and covers almost the resy of the length of the bottle. The base is approximately 3″ in diamete and as with the lip, looks like it was put on seperately as was the lip. the base has 3 horizontal lines running the circumference of the base the middle one is very rough and there is a some scarring around it. It also has a white 1/2″ wide white painted on line thecircles almost the entire circumference of the base of the neck with 1/32 and marker line etched into the glass right above the painted on line. I’m thinking it is a foreign made soda or mineral water bottle, but I cannot find anything anywhere on this bottle, and I spent about 8hrs total yesterday looking. Please help me identify this bottle so we can see if there is any value to it

  9. R. Bryant Says:

    Hi Doug, great interview article. I believe I recently ran across one of the so-called “3rd Shift Shenanigans” in the form of an embossed 6 1/2 ounce Patent Office bottle with a date code of 62-11 and a simple (generic ?) “L” at the center of the base, I am assuming for Laurens Glass Works. When I first heard of this piece, I suspected it was dyed or stained, but upon inspecting it hands on, and doing a couple of simple tests, have determined it is indeed an alternate colored glass through and through. It is a stunning rich 7-up green color, probably the most beautiful Coca Cola bottle I have ever seen. The story on the bottle is that it was originally purchased from a former of Coca Cola of Atlanta, who said the bottle was one of a few made in this color as a “prototype” under consideration for production by Coke in 1962. What makes me wonder if this story may actually be true is the fact that the bottle appears to be from a new or very fresh mold by the detail present, and the absence of any other identifiers on the base other than just the letter “L” at the very center. I would appreciate any thoughts you might have to share on this piece. Thanks much.

  10. Sandy White Says:

    I have a straight coke bottle that is aqua and frosted like sea glass. It is marked Coka-Cola Newport News Va on the side at the bottom. There is nothing on the bottom. There are no chips on the bottle.
    What could be the reason for frosting? Maybe it has been buried in acidic soil or is it indeed sea glass? What year would this bottle possibly been made?
    Thank you for any help you could give.

  11. Keith Colgan Says:


    I’m writing an article for the local paper regarding an experience in the late 1950’s. Can you help me to remember what the deposit/redemptive value was for a 6.5 oz glass Coke bottle in those days in California? I think it was either one or two cents.

    Thank you,

  12. bobby Says:

    I found a big chief beverages bottle. It says it’s a product of coca-cola? Your help would be appreciated.

  13. linda propson Says:

    My question-why are’nt 2 liter plastic bottles flat on the bottom? The current bottles keep falling over in the shopping cart.

  14. Eve Bark Says:

    Hello! I have a small collection of what I was told were antique miniature coca-cola toy bottles..about 2″ you happen to know anything about these?! thank you for any information you can share…

  15. curtis hayes Says:

    I have a clear bottle that has dunn wrote on the sides of it as well as bottle. I know that means dunn north carolina but at the base of it it says property of the coca- cola bottling company. Other than that is has no writing on it anywhere else. No coca-cola or anything.Can u tell me what year it was made or anything else about it.

    Thanks so much.

  16. Monica Flores Says:

    I have found the bottom of what appears to maybe be an old bottle. Only a porption of the markings are visible. In the center of the bottom it has Mc written on it with the c being lowercase and placement of it is not high or low but in the middle spacing next to the M. The c is underscored, meaning it has a line underneath it The sides of the bottom are embossed with : Coca Cola Bottling Co. then the next I can’t read and it ends with TEX. I’m assuming it was San Antonio, Tex. Can you shed any light on this..age, was it San Antonio, etc. Many thanks.


  17. Mark Nelson Says:

    Hi Doug,
    I have a 6 fl oz pat D Nov. 16 1915 hobble skirt Coca Cola bottle and on the bottom of the bottle its embossed “T.B.C.CO. Rhinelander, Wis.” I believe it stands for Taylor Beverage Candy Company seeing that I have found later bottles with it embossed with the complete name on them., but also on the heel of this 1915 hobble skirt is the numbers 576 EG26 11, I know that its probably the bottle makers mark, but have no idea which one? Any info would be deeply appreciated. Thank you!

  18. Andrea Says:

    Hi Doug,
    I am a new Coca Cola Collector. My mother gave me a bottle and I cannot figure it out for the life of me. The bottle is the Georgia Green glass. The year is a bit wore down. I know it is from the ’60’s. The bottle number seems to be 60, 63, 65 or 68 – 38 or 39. One side of the bottles that say min contents 6 FL OZS. I have read that they stopped putting that on the bottles in 1958. Hmmm The other side says In US Patent Office. The other interesting thing is on the bottom it looks to have the initials MG? or could it be a backwards C then W? I cannot find a company that made bottles for Coca Cola with these initials. Please help!
    Thanks so much and I have to say I am very impressed with your knowledge of all these different bottles!

  19. matthew livesey Says:

    I dug up an intact coke bottle at my job at a refinery in the san Francisco bay area. The bottle was intact and buried 3 feet deep under some piping in one of the oldest sections of the refinery. It looks a lot like these bottle “skirted” I have seen dating in the 50’s. However there is no city stamp on it and it just has the coca cola log with the word trade mark (only) under it. about an inch from the bottom, on the side it has 2 sets of numbers with a stamp in between. the stamp is loosely diamond shaped with a small straight vertical line running from top to bottom through the loose looking diamond. On one side it says 22 on the other it says 50. It appears to be a 6.5 ounce size…..can you tell me anymore on how old it is and who might of manufactured it and where. Thanks

  20. Bill Lambert Says:

    Is there a way to find out if there was ever a coca cola bottling plant in Anawalt, WV.
    Two people have told me they have seen a bottle with the city on the bottom.

  21. Chris Cole Says:

    Hi Doug,

    Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge. Can you please help me learn more about my recent find.

    I found a WWII coke bottle, 6 fl. ozs. D patent 1945 (“10 [Saturn symbol] 45”), while snorkeling in Waikiki near the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. It was uncovered by recent erosion. No city or state on the base, typical of a WWII bottle; just an “S”. Interestingly, it is green, not clear. I did some research and looked at lots of WWII era bottles online. If they are from 1943-1945, they either have a city/state on the base and are green – a “civilian” bottle I suppose – or else they are clear with no city/state (I saw at least 1 that had an “S” like mine or some other letter) – i.e., presumably a “military” bottle for the troops. I have not seen any bottle like mine online. Any thoughts on what I have, and how rare it is?

    Aloha, Chris.

  22. Michael Yates Says:

    Hello everyone, I have a question I found a bottle in the swamp, a 2litter one just like the one in the pic. Should I keep it or its just trash. Thanks guys, mike

  23. Ericson Says:

    What a Super Article ,
    great intervieuw.
    Regards from across the ocean.

  24. jon kennedy Says:

    have bottle that has embosed lable”C C Cola” and on bottom skirt “bottled by Coke Cola Co.”
    any idea as to age or where was bottled???

  25. Patrice Says:

    I have 2 cases of 6.5 “return for refund” most have cities on the bottom but they had a serial # printed on the bottle 2139mr1
    or 12:03GI
    The markings don’t always look in the same place under the word coke.
    Some bottles bottom list different cities, Ex: Model Trademark in the Center, New Bern —–NC on the outside ——OR Roswell——NM—–with no trademark information in the middle. Are these bottles fake???

    Thank you in advance.

  26. Bob Says:

    I understand that there are two different Birmingham Hutchinson bottles, one with Root embossed on back and one with D.O.C. embossed on back of bottle. Is one more rare than the other? What is the meaning of D.O.C. ?

  27. Sandy Jacobson Says:

    I have 24 6.5 oz bottles , Coca Cola on one side, Coke on the other, in white, not embossed. They are in cardboard carrying cases of 8 each, 79 cents (cent sign – not on my keyboard) plus 16 cents deposit, Total 95 cents, Money Back Bottles. The locations embossed on the bottoms are as follows: Philadelphia, Pa; Middleton, CT; Detroit, MI; Kalamazoo, MI; Bloomington, IN; Grand Rapids, MI; Presque Isle, ME; Louisville, KY; Winston, NC; Charlotte, NC; Milwauke, WI; Newport News, VA; Albany, GA; Fayetteville, NC; Fairmont, WV; Bridgeton, NJ; Baton Route, LA; Tupulo, MS; Brunswick, GA; Columbus, OH; Greenville, SC,; Clarion, PA. Is any of this worthwhile collecting?
    Thank you.

  28. jigor Says:

    Hello i have a 0,19l coca cola green bottle that have swedish and finnish reg.varumärke under coca cola logo and numbers in bottom is K then 0,19L and 4 65. intrested in what year they did make this and is there any worth in the bottle for me it,s priceless it,s been with me about 30 years

  29. Charlene Mount Says:

    In the 1980 Pepsi put out a 2 Lt. disposable bottle made of thin glass
    right after that coca cola ran a line of the same thing but it never went
    to market as the pepsi bottles exploded. I have one of the coca cola bottle
    that never went to market. Can you tell me what year that was?
    Thank You for your help

  30. Hannah Says:

    Hi Doug,

    I have several dozen glass bottles that I’m sure aren’t worth much, but I’m trying to figure out the dates. 10 oz bottle, “NO DEPOSIT NO RETURN” around the top, the bottom reads “69 25 (c) I 1578”. The “I” looks like either a capital letter i, or a number 1.


  31. Tania Says:

    My husband found a glass bottle on our property and we were trying to find more information when I found your article. It is embossed with COCA-COLA on one side and BOT T.CO.INC on the other. There are embossed diamonds above that. LA GRANGE, TEXAS is embossed around the bottom. On the very bottom it says 7 oz. Any insight on the history of this bottle would be greatly appreciated.

  32. Ronny Reed Says:

    Yesterday I found a Coca-Cola bottle, intact, no chips or cracks. It has in raised letters around the middle, under the Logo and Trademark, “MIN CONTENTS 6 FL. OZ.” . I always knew Cokes were 6 1/2 ounces. Never noticed this size before. My research tells me these bottles were used between 1951 and 1958, my prime Coke drinking years (age 7 to 14). Was the bottle smaller and and did it contain less liquid? Or, were the contents actually close to 6 1/2 ounces and this was just a hedge against a consumer saying his Coke was not full when he got it? Thank you.

  33. Rebecca Says:

    Just a comment… I have one of the items that he finds rare!
    A mismatched label, white and red, that I purchased from a store in Acme MI. in the late 70’s. As it still sits, unopened, on my childhood bedroom shelf!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  34. Nadine Says:

    I have found a Coca Cola bottle, with the name painted on, cursive on one side, print on the other, Oshkosh, WIS O G on the base.

    The numbers 65 12 is on the side of the bottle, at the narrow spot of the swell.

    Under the name in cursive, it also says 6 1/2 FL. OZ.

    What is unusual is the abbreviation for Wisconsin, used to be Wis, now it is WI.

    What can you tell me about my bottle?

    Thank you!

  35. Bobbie Pressley Says:

    Found a couple or green 60z Coke bottle found in box at house we bought
    they have numbers under Coca-Cola in script around bottle the #D-105529 and has Gastonia NC on bottom
    I also have a real old Cheerwine Bottle 6 1/2 ounce clear with Gastonia NC on bottom numbers I cant make out (maybe 24 377
    could you check these out and let me know about them and if so what they would be worth. Thanks so much
    Have 2 Dr. Pepper bottle- one is clear 6 1/2 oz. with a clock face on one side with 10 2 and 4 it says Charlotte NC and number 3 then design and 48 the other Dr Prpper is greenish 6 1/2oz but logo is red an white numbers on bottom I cant make out ( maybe 24 73)

  36. jonathan Says:

    hi I ran across an villa rica ga soda water bottle property of coca cola from 1923 iv never seen one from villa rica iv got the 1915 and a straight just never have seen the soda water bottle its from 1923 my understanding is that the villa rica plant closed down in 1923 just hoping you can give me some info on the bottle

  37. Tigh Conley Says:

    Hey! I’ve recently taken a job which puts me in a lot of crawlspace and attics lol. In the past couple weeks I have found some mid 50s bottles embossed with my city’s name, Anderson, IND, on the bottom, and also one from Elwood, IND. I was just curious if these were rare in any way, or if they’re just neat to me. My mother had her kitchen done in Coca Cola theme when I was growing up. So naturally, I just love old coke products. Thanks for any help!

  38. Chris Says:

    If a straight sided bottle has Coca-Cola written in block lettering on the bottom of the bottle and Property of the Coca-Cola Company written near the bottom, what proves that the actual product, Coca-Cola, was actually in that bottle? This one has the letter K in the bulge part of the bottle. I had heard that if it has lettering in the Spencarian script on it, that more than likely Coca-Cola was in that bottle. Can You Help Me?

  39. Nicole Says:

    I found a bottle how can I identify it?
    Pat Nov 27 1923 2988O
    (ASH in circles on both sides of top)
    QUALITY property of Coca Cola
    BEVERAGES BOT. CO 6 1/2 fl oz
    bottom of bottle says ASH
    It’s real heavy and and has a weird texture around the bottle knurled like anti slip. Can anyone help me identify it because I can’t find anything online .

  40. dave curtis Says:

    Live in south Dakota could you tell me the towns that were bottlers
    of coca cola also have cola cola bottles that have the towns on the bottom
    with half circles in between the town are these repros

  41. Popcornman Says:

    I was given a trash bags full of coca bottles, on them they have number stamped. are they wroth anything or am I holding on to trash. some of the number on the bottle are, 1.12,6.9,5.5,1.2,0.8,1.5,1.6,0.22, then a few with 77 04,77 26

    Oklahoma bottle with boots, 1978 supper bowl, 92 Olympic, centennial Oklahoma Cherokee strip 93, Boston world Cup USA 94,
    21 6 pack 6.5 oz

  42. James Waltman Says:

    A friend was showing me an old soda bottle he had found. I do not remember the name on the label other than it was blue, however on the bottom was stamped Bristow and Pryor, Oklahoma. How can I find information on this bottle?

  43. richard p. dwyer Says:

    instead of the show and tell gallery, i would like to describe the bottle i found. It is 12oz coca cola bottled embossed lettering (no year showing). On the bottom is number 5 then a space and it looks like a double anchor with an H covering the anchor, then a space and then the number 55. Below the anchor is T5. I was wondering what the 5,55 and T5 mean. I found this in my town of north branford,ct, the site being water company property that all the houses were torn down or removed in the 1920’s. This was found in a dump near the remains of one of these old houses, along with clear coca cola bottles 10 oz stamped no refills and 6-B-396 and (26) B 77. thanks for your help Rick Dwyer

  44. Brad Says:

    My Dad worked at the local Coca Cola bottler for 30+ years. I am curious to know the difference between the Tab bottles with yellow lettering and the ones with white lettering. (Dates, etc).

  45. Cris Frye Says:

    Hi Doug,
    I have a 23 1/2 oz bottle. Clear in color. It still has the wire/metal stopper in it. It is from the Chicago Bottling Co. The number 2062 appears at the bottom. The difference in this bottle, compared to the others you have spoken about or that I have found on other pages, this does not have the print near the neck, rather around the bottom of the bottle and on the under side of the bottle. Could you please help me with the age and value? TIA ~ Cris

  46. Sue Mitchell Says:

    I have a green bottle marked SODA WATER PROPERTY OF COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY CON. 6 1/2 FL OZ. There are 6 embossed stars above these words. Around the bottom of the bottle are these numbers/letters: 2946E 1 629 PAT NOV 27 1923. I assume that means the bottle was patented on Nov. 27, 1923, but would like to know what the other numbers/letters mean. Also, embossed on the bottom is CANTON over an O. (obviously bottled in Canton, Ohio). The bottle is in excellent shape. I’d love to know some history about this bottle if you have any! I’m also curious about the value, although I didn’t acquire it to sell it. I just love old Coke bottles! Thank you for your help with this, and for your information about Coke bottles in general.

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