When we think of a bottle of soda pop, a gently curving, green Coca-Cola hobbleskirt probably comes to mind. But since the beginning of the 20th century, soft drinks have been bottled in all sorts of shapes, from straight-sided cylinders of sarsaparilla to severely segmented bottles of NuGrape, whose bulbous, textured-and-embossed bodies are pinched in the middle and topped with elegant necks that appear to rest on a trio of concentric rings. Many bottles feature vertical embossing to accentuate their silhouettes, while others are ribbed horizontally, as if to give thirsty consumers a more ergonomic grip when grabbing their favorite frosty beverage from a bucket of ice.

The companies that bottled brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, and Orange Crush are often central to the stories of these companies. For example, Coca-Cola was first bottled not by its inventor, John S. Pemberton, but by a Vicksburg, Mississippi, soda-fountain operator named Joseph A. Biedenharn, who, in 1894, sold the beverage to his customers in a common bottle-and-stopper design of the day known as a Hutchinson. Soon, a couple of Tennessee lawyers named Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead had obtained rights to bottle Coca-Cola throughout most of the United States (excluding Vicksburg) for the princely sum of one dollar.

Bottling may have been an afterthought to the people who ran Coca-Cola, but it wouldn’t be for the hundreds of other soft-drink entrepreneurs that sprung up after the introduction of the lighter, crown-top bottle in 1891, which made bottled beverages a viable business. In 1905, when Pepsi sold its first franchises to bottlers in North Carolina, the drink was bottled in amber glass, which was thought to extend its shelf life. By the end of 1907, though, with 40 Pepsi franchises bottling the drink, the company shifted to clear glass.

Green was also used, mostly because it was inexpensive to produce. But in 1915, the hue became an industry standard when Coca-Cola patented a new bottle shape that resembled either a cocoa pod and a hobbleskirt, depending on what you’d prefer to imagine. These days, the shape is often generically described as “contour.”

Other companies used embossing to differentiate themselves from competitors. In the 1920s, bottles of Orange Crush were clear with horizontal embossed ridges. These “krinklies,” as they are known, also had embossed diamond-shaped labels rather than paper ones. Amber krinklies with applied color labels (ACLs) were manufactured from the end of World War II until the mid-1970s. In parallel, from the 1950s through most of the 1960s, Orange Crush tried its own version of a hobbleskirt bottle, but the shape of this one was a good deal more full-figured, shall we say, than Coca-Cola’s, which is why this bottle is routinely referred to as the Mae West.

One characteristic that just about all soda-pop bottles from the first half of the 20th century have in common is the bottle’s city of origin, which is embossed right into the glass. This makes collecting bottles from this period, especially Coca-Cola bottles, particularly satisfying. In addition, Coca-Cola bottles produced after 1916 are easy to identify, since four-digit numbers found on the base or bottom of these bottles identify the mold and year of its manufacture.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Historic Glass Bottle Identification

Historic Glass Bottle Identification

Bill Lindsey's fantastic bottle identification and information site. Loaded with detailed descriptions and diagrams… [read review or visit site]

Antique Bottle Collector's Haven

Antique Bottle Collector's Haven

There's a ton of information here, but as with bottles, you have to dig to find the best stuff. Start with the famo… [read review or visit site]

Bottle Cap Index

Bottle Cap Index

Assembled by Gunther Rademacher with the help of several other contributors, this collection of over half a million… [read review or visit site]

Plopsite.de

Plopsite.de

Norbert Lamping's collection of 600+ ceramic bottle stoppers, Hutter stoppers, swingtops, swivel stoppers, and ligh… [read review or visit site]

Old Spice Collectibles

Old Spice Collectibles

Lather up with Creighton Fricek's complete chronology of collectible Old Spice shaving products. Start with the bot… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Dr. Langley Root & Herb Bitters- Boston J. & R. Dunster London Root Beer Amber / Embossed Stoddard Square Aqua Half Pint Open Pontil Washington Monument / A Little More Grape Capt BragExtremely Rare Clear 1907 "dr. Pepper Script" - St. Louis, Mo.Pepsi Cola Greenville Nc Vintage Straight Side North Carolina Soda Bottle 31 Miniature Mini Soda Pop Bottles1920's Beautiful Hour-glass Embossed Pepsi Bottle In Near Mint ConditionBeautiful Drakes Plantation X Cabin Bitters Bottle 1860 Dark Root Beer Amber MntPonder's Bottle Greer South Carolina Art Deco Sc Bottle S C Vintage SodaRare Barretts Ginger Beer Drinks Tray Leckie Gray Fitzroy Crown Seal BottleG. Ebberwein Ginger Ale Savannah. Geo. Ga. Amber Blob Top Georgia Soda Bottle Sydney Nova Scotia, Havelock Bottling Co. Ginger Beer BottleBeautiful Purple Amethyst Glass Ss Coke Straight Side Coca Cola BottleT Emmett Ogden Utah Soda Pop Bottle1940s Lucky Sam Acl Painted Label Soda Bottle Syracuse NyRare Charleston Sc Coca Cola Round Slugplate Bottle South Carolina Coke S C Rare Mint Longhorn Soda Water Bottle From Big Springs, Texas 2 Color AclEarly Pepsi Cola Bottle From Edenton North CarolinaCleo Cola Soda BottleRare King Cotton Leland, Miss Soda BottleVintage Antique Coca Cola Coke Seltzer Water Bottle Elmira Ny ExcBeautiful Purple Amethyst Glass Ss Script Pepsi Cola Straight Side BottleGalveston Texas Phoenix Hutch Blob Soda Pop BottleX Rare Amethyst Sandersville Ga Coca Cola Straight Side Ss Coke Beautiful BottleG. Simmond's Charlottetown Pei Ginger Beer BottlePepsi Cola Bottle Bham Ala No Reserve!21 Playing Cards Soda Bottle Bantam Picture Acl Black Jack Washington Dc RareChristo Cola Hinton W. Va. Bottle West Virginia Vintage SodaWestern Blob Soda, Lytton Geyser Soda Springs, San Francisco, Cal. 1894 - 1899Coca Cola Murphysboro Soda Bottle, Illinois Straight Sided, RareVintage Blue Clear Coca Cola Soda Bottle 6.5 Oz. Bubbles In Glass Winchester, VaLot Of 3 Old Bottles From PennsylvaniaJames Roue Halifax Nova Scotia Ginger Beer Bottle 2 Different ,acl, Painted Label Soda Bottle, El Paso,texasRare Pepsi Cola White Bottle Paper Label Double Dot Renfrew,ontario Canada SignJoe Louis Punch Bottle Acl Knockout 7 Oz Rare Boxing Boxer 1940's Washington Dc?1920's Coca Cola Straight Sided Quart Coke Bottle From North Chicago Il V-rareMacon Ga Straight Side Coca Cola Bottle Vintage Georgia Coke Bottle Joe Louis Beverage Bottle Acl Punch Knockout 10 Oz Birmingham? Alabama Ala Al Southway Soda Bottle Coca-cola Btlg Works, Inc Berlin Pa Somerset CountyCd 147 - Rare 7up Spiral Groove Hemingray Embossed Insulator3 Mountain Dew Bottles...ya-hoo...Vintage Antique Glass Soda Bottle Good News Beverages Rockford IllinoisDetroit Mich Atlas Beverages Soda Bottle 16 Oz Acl Rare!!Vintage Faygo Old Fashioned Root Beer BottleRare Chas. T. Gilchrist Bottling Company Works Bedford Pa Aqua-green Soda BottleRoot Mason Blue Aqua Quart Canning~fruit Jar ~no Lid~vintageVery Rare Maple Leaf Aerated Water Embosed Bottle Hawkesbury Ontario Canada SignClayton's Old English Stone Ginger Beer Stoneware BottleExtremely Rare Acl "big Shot Beverage" - New Orleans, Louisiana "read"Hawaii Soda Bottle Maui GlassScarce Starke Florida Soda Bottle Fla. - Ideal Bottling Co. - $9.95 No ReserveAmber Dr Pepper Bottle €2 Vintage Polly's Soda Pop Bottles W/ Green & Red Parrots - 7 Oz Rare Old 1900's Bluff City Bottling Co. Coca Cola Hutch Bottle With Stopper !!2 Vintage Polly's Soda Pop Bottles W/ Blue & Red Parrots - 7 Oz Wenatchee Scarce Heep Good Beverages Orange And Black Soda BottleExtremely Rare Acl "rosentreter's Beverage" - Carlinville, IllExtremely Rare Acl "scopel's Beverage" - Benld, IllVintage Blob Top Alex Easton Fairfield Iowa Soda Pop Bottle