Coca-Cola syrup was originally distributed in the hobble-skirt Hutchinson bottle with an iron stopper & rubber washer attached.
By 1914 a large amounts of Coca-Cola was being sold through soda fountains and in a variety of straight-wall containers, but many imposters were trying to copy the new famous flavour and appeal of Coca-Cola. It was then decided that Coca-Cola, which had been registered in 1863, deserved its own special packaging, which would also help to distinguish it from these copycats.
In 1915, Alexander Samuelson designed the unique contour bottle in a shape that would comfortably fit the hand. This now-familiar shape was granted registration as a trademark in 1960, an honour then only accorded to a handful of other packages in the world. The bottle thus joined the following trademarks – “Coca-Cola”, registered in 1893, and Coke registered in 1945.
Today, in addition to the glass bottles that are manufactured in a number of different sizes, The Coca-Cola Company has developed a wide range of alternate packages. Thanks to ongoing research and development, these are manufactured in a variety of materials to suit the changing needs of customers. However, The Coca-Cola Company is committed to producing packaging that not only matches current trends, but also respects the important needs of the environment.
In 1894, Joseph Biebenharn became the first official bottler of Coca-Cola by installing a single bottling machine in the back of his candy store and selling cases to labourers along the Mississippi River. Bottling was considered a risky business at the time, as bottle caps were often reported to fly off and injure the customer. Four years later however, bottling rights were bought by two businessmen and plants developed across the United States.
In 1938, the first bottling company opened in Johannesburg and the Coca-Cola Export Corporation set up a permanent operation in South Africa, with plants being built in Auckland Park and Durban. The first bottling operation to open in Cape Town was in Paarden Eiland in 1940.
Within the bottling plants, new and returned bottles are sorted into various sizes before being cleaned. They are washed in special detergents and thoroughly rinsed to ensure a sparkling clean and sanitary bottle.
The bottles are visually inspected to ensure that they are not chipped or cracked. Each bottle is then passed through an electronic inspection, searching for the tiniest speck of dirt - bottles that do not match up to the quality standard are rejected and destroyed.
Once the bottles are filled, they are collected and placed into crates. The Coca-Cola stock is rotated to ensure that all products leaving the bottling plant are fresh. The product is then dispatched to numerous outlets, where customers can purchase Coca-Cola products in a variety of packages.
Today, over 12 000 people in South Africa, work for Coca-Cola.
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