In 1884, a man named Joseph Biedenharn sent the company marketer samples of bottles sodas, but it took five years before these were sold commercially. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but in business it can cut into sales when competing products are too similar. The company wanted a bottle that was so distinctive you were sure you had the "real thing" and came up with the idea of a bottle so different you tell the moment you held it that it was authentic. They had a contest for a bottle that you could identify in darkness or blindfolded, and the rather feminine curve of the now standard Coca-Cola bottles was the clear winner. While the basic contour of Coca-Cola bottles has remained, it has been refined several times for various reasons. The first was a practical one. The first contour bottles were wider in their middle section than they are now, and were not very steady on conveyor belts. They had to be made thinner to prevent tipping, but most people think the appearance is also more balanced and attractive. When the plastic 20-ounce bottles were introduced for use in vending machines, slight variations in design were required. Also, large sized bottles such as two- and three-liter family size bottles of Coca-Cola, could not carry the same signature contoured look on technical grounds. Is gift selection difficult for you for certain "hard-to-buy-for" friends and relatives? One possibility is adding to their collection of some kind of memorabilia, or even getting them started on a collection with some specific theme.

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