Rare Coca Cola Prototype Bottle Will Appear at the 2014 Findlay Ohio Bottle Show

Photo Source: Joe Coulson, published in the Midwest Fruit Jar Club's newsletter. 

The Un-Coca-Cola Proto-type Bottle

The Other Rare Coca Cola Prototype Bottle Will Appear at the 2014 Findlay Ohio Bottle Show

Rarest of the rare: this one-of-a-kind Coca Cola Prototype Bottle was on display at the 2013 Circle City Antique Bottle Club's first show, held in September 2013 in Indianapolis, IN. (The Midwest club's newsletter has more show photos, and other interesting articles and bottle hobby news. [Read the newsletter: PDF Link] )

Breaking news -- the owner will be displaying this special  bottle at the 2014 Findlay Bottle Show. [Get all the Show Info here.]

This bottle was designed by Ray A. Graham, of Evansville, Indianawho owned Graham Glass Company. Here's the patent design drawing for the bottle shape, (click to enlarge) [Source] issued on Nov. 21. 1916.

Here's a video of this unique gem of a bottle that George H. Krempp spirited out of the meeting held at Coca Cola headquarters back in 1916 to decide which bottle design they were going with.

The bottle now belongs to Krempp's great grandson.

Graham's patent design.

The Coca Cola company's bottle design contest was held in 1916: 
"The firm contacted several glass
houses, offering a contest for the best
design for the Coca-Cola bottle. The
design had to be distinctive both to the
eye and the touch. This would replace
the bottles with straight sides and either
the bottler’s name embossed on the side
of the bottle, a paper label affixed to the
front, or both. Since the main method for
cooling bottles was to immerse them in
ice, the drinks were often not in plain sight
of customer, and the labels frequently
washed off as the ice melted. Coca-Cola
wanted a bottle that the consumer could
identify by touch alone."
This proto-type was made by Graham's bottling works, with the Coca Cola script embossing. 

As we all know, Coke went with the now-famous Earl R. Dean-designed hobble skirt, instead of Graham's design. 

While Graham's design wasn't chosen, his bottle making company did go on to make hobble skirt bottles for Coca Cola. 

That's Krempp on the left, the man who saved this bottle from being destroyed as all the other potential prototypes were. 

A Jasper business that has carried on through three generations is the Jasper Bottling Works, now known as the Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc., of Jasper. One of the oldest soft drink bottling plants still in operation, the firm was started in 1872 by Andrew Krempp, Sr., and George H. Krempp. All flavors of drinks were bottled, but that was before Coca- Cola. The company continued under its original name until 1932 when the present name was adopted. Operating the business now are O. A. Kremp, president, and Earl M. Salb, manager. For many years the bottling operation was located at Fourth and Mill Streets, where the facilities were expanded several times. In 1963, a new plant was constructed on the south edge of town on Highway 231.

Excerpt from a bottle forum discussion on the 1916 Coca Cola bottle design contest, where SodaPopBob has written a detailed report with vintage photos, about how this un-chosen bottle got out into the collector world: 

"It was also during the 1916 convention in Georgia that a George H. Krempp of Jasper, Indiana, whose family had been in the soda bottling since 1870 and a Coca Cola franchise bottler since 1910, reportedly "acquired" one of the non-winning bottles which apparently had been submitted by the Graham Glass Company. It is believed the Graham bottle is a one of a kind and is currently owned by Gary Salb, who is the great-grandson of George H Krempp." 

Thirsty for more info? You should read these:

  • Book chapter excerpts on Graham Glass Company from The Graham Legacy: Graham-Paige to 1932 by Michael E. Keller

  • History of the Coca Cola bottle -- The Dating Game: Tracking the Hobble-Skirt Coca-Cola Bottle by Bill Lockhart and Bill Porter -- PDF Link

  • Forum discussion of the prototype bottles with lots of links and info HERE on antiquebottles.net 
  • Bonus: Here's the link to the story of another super rare historic Coca Cola bottle:

    Sold for $13,000 - Earliest Coca Cola Bottle: Rare Labeled Pemberton's French Wine Coca / Up For Auction May 2014

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