TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – A piece of Terre Haute history is on display for the world to see. This year marks the centennial anniversary of the creation of an iconic piece of Americana: the coke bottle. But what you may not know is that classic image started just down Third Street in Terre Haute.
You can change the language, the year, or even the ads but the image is unmistakable. It’s always Coca-Cola.
“The whole thing started in 1915 when the Coke Company decided they needed a bottle that was distinctive and they wanted a bottle that no one else would have,” Marylee Hagan of the Vigo County Historical Society said.
That same year during the spring in Terre Haute just off Third and Voorhees sat the Root Glass Company.
Chapman Root, the owner of the glassworks decided to enter into the contest.
“He sent his people down to the public library to do a little research and they saw in the encyclopedia a picture of a Cocoa Pod. They saw these funny striped things going down the side and thought it would make an interesting bottle shape.”
The workers brought the idea to Earl Dean, the glass bottle designer. The finished product won the contest.
“Only one problem the bottle they designed was a little fat in the middle to go through the machinery to put the coke in the bottle so they redesigned it and slimmed it down a bit and the bottle they designed and won is the one you know now that’s famous all over the world,” Hagan said.
In 1916, Coca-Cola patented the Terre Haute design and ever since, the icon for Coke products all over the world has had a piece of Wabash Valley history with it.
This spring as Coca-Cola celebrates 100 years of the bottle as the symbol of soda. Terre Haute once again will enter the world stage.
“They are going to do a national campaign they are going to be producing a six ounce bottle that will have Terre Haute’s name on it as the birth place of the bottle,” Hagan said.