Back before vending machines dominated with their cans of Coke, Coca-Cola used to be sold exclusively in bottles. And before that, Coca-Cola was even sold in refillable bottles, which could be brought back to the company for a small reward. Those days have officially ended, now that the last American manufacturer to produce the Coke bottles has decided to stop.
The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Winona, Minn., filled its last refillable, 6.5-ounce Coke bottle this week, the Associated Press reports. The change was for business reasons, as the returnable bottles only accounted for less than 2 percent of all business for the company. Still, the last 6,000 bottles marked the end of an era for Coca-Cola enthusiasts. "For some 40 years, from 1915 to 1955, the only way you could have had a Coca-Cola was in one of these embossed glass packages (bottles)," said Phillip Mooney, chief archivist and heritage vice president of Coca-Cola to Gannett, noting it was a "historic" day when the last bottle was filled.
Of course, these collector items were hard to find: the bottles were only distributed to four counties outside of Winoma, Minn. But Coca-Cola collectors will now have a harder time getting their hands on the bottles. Relax: the 8-ounce Coca-Cola bottles aren't going anywhere.