March, 1948. A Plastic Bottle.

My father was obviously excited. “Come on down to the basement” he said, “I have something to show you”, and without even taking off his hat, briefcase in hand, descended the steps. My mother, my big sister and I followed, I rather unsteadily because of my small size. In the basement he placed his briefcase on a bench and extracted from it a bottle and cap. My mother picked me up so I could see what I believe to be the world’s first plastic bottle, or one of the first. It was translucent, slightly brown in color, and had been extracted from the mold so quickly, still hot, that it was a bit deformed, particularly around the threads and the cap. It had a slight smell, aromatic, of the laboratory. My big sister sniffed it and scrunched up her nose. When playing with this bottle later I was never able to really get the cap to screw on. The permanent home of the bottle was the basement. It was part of the world of science, engineering and mold and had no place in the house above. It lingered on down there for years long after the rest of our home was overrun by detergent, soda and every other kind of plastic bottle. In what landfill does it rest?

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