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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Coca Cola, the Pause that Refreshes

In May of 1939 Bloomington was the site of a new Coca Cola Bottling building on East Bell Street (that is still standing!). The Pantagraph article featuring the new building did not reference the architects, but stated that it was a "conservatively modern" brick and stone fire proof building. People were fascinated by the view through the plate glass windows on the Morrissey Street side of the building, where all could see the bottling process!

The previous bottling factory in Bloomington was not quite as modern or efficient. At the old building the bottles were filled at a rate of 48 every minute, but in the new system, 110 bottles a minute were filled with delicious Coca Cola or 52,800 bottles in an eight hour shift! This seems like an incredible amount of soda, but recent statistics released by Coca Cola claimed that 1.9 billion "drinks" of Coca Cola are consumed every day world wide.

Of course, back in 1939 Coca Cola and all soda bottlers recycled the bottles. In the article the reporter described the cleaning process: The bottles were filled with a 3 per cent solution of caustic soda and heated to 160 degrees, scrubbed by automatic brushes and then rinsed with a clear water and tri-sodium solution. They were then sent on their merry way down the conveyor to be filled with soda pop!

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