The 1920s were a time of excess and that excess carried over into design. The good mood of the times was dampened by prohibition but the thirst for soda was growing wildly. Every Mom and Pop town in America had its own soft drink. The market was crowded with big names like Coca Cola, Nehi, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, Hires, Orange Crush along thousands of lesser known brands. Many of the sodas of the 1920s were embossed like counterparts of earlier decades. But unlike their counterparts they display lavish design elements. The variety seems endless in the competition to be noticed.
The 1920s were the heyday of the designer soda. Anyone could put up soda. Generic bottles were cheaper than the designed bottles and labels could be applied for brand identification. The labels, of course did not last and so became a bother and an added expense. The designer bottles could have the proprietors name blown into the glass along with the design. The design helped with brand identification and customer loyalty. In a field as crowded as the soda beverage field getting noticed was getting more difficult.
The 1915 and 1923 "Christmas Coke" was by all measures the most successful of the designer soda bottle ever. The familiar coke bottle shape was known to millions for many decades. No other beverage has achieved such wide spread recognition nor lasted for as many years.
Collecting Designer Sodas
Most of the designer sodas shown here are probably rare. A good collection of 1920s designer soda bottles could take many years to assemble and be worth many thousands of dollars. Some of the more ornate and obscure designs are already selling for hundreds of dollars when you can find them even though there are relatively few people collecting these bottles. The patents shown below, do not show embossing - only the design. All of these soda bottles precede the applied color label era which began in 1934 and so many would have been embossed.
Yet More 1920 Designer Sodas