Original contour bottle design (1915)
Original contour bottle design (1915)

Coca-Cola was created in 1866 by “Dr” John S. Pemberton, a quack from Atlanta, Georgia. His drink consisted of a syrup mixed with water or soda water. It was claimed to be a “brain tonic” and to relieve headaches. The syrup, which was 99% sugar, contained fifteen ingredients including coca leaves, cola nuts, caramel, phosphoric acid, fruit flavours, spices and a secret ingredient called “7X”.

Initially, Coca-Cola was not a success and Pemberton died penniless in 1888. Asa Griggs Candler bought up all of the shares in Pemberton’s company, dropped the medicinal claims and began a concerted advertising campaign. As early as 1890, this included giving away clocks, scales and fountain urns inscribed with the Coca-Cola logo. By 1909, Coca-Cola was the most heavily advertised product in America.

Coca-Cola had some success as a syrup which was mixed with soda by an attendant at a soda fountain. But it really took off when, in 1899, two men approached Candler seeking the rights to bottle and distribute the drink. Candler agreed and Coca-Cola became the first popular soda drink sold pre-mixed in a bottle.


Did You Know?

It is often claimed that Coca-Cola was originally green. It wasn’t. The myth seems to have come from the early use of green bottles.

In 1918, after a lengthy court battle with the US Government which sought to get cocaine and caffeine removed from Coke, the company compromised and removed the cocaine.

In 1917, Asa Candler handed control of the company to his children. In 1919, they sold it to a consortium headed by Ernest Woodruff.

Coca-Cola opened an office in Australia in 1937.


An idea of the date of Coca-Cola collectables can be gained from the advertising slogans used. The slogans used in America were:

  • 1886 advertisement
    1886 advertisement
    1886 “Coca-Cola – Delicious, Refreshing, Exhilarating”
  • 1905 “Coca-Cola Revives and Sustains”
  • 1906 “Great National Temperance Beverage”
  • 1908 “Good To The Last Drop”
  • 1917 “Three Million a Day”
  • 1920 “Drink Coca-Cola With Soda, The Hit That Saves The Day”
  • 1922 “Thirst Knows No Season”
  • 1923 “Refresh Yourself, There’s Nothing Like It When You’re Thirsty”
  • 1924 “Pause and Refresh Yourself”
  • 1926 “Stop At The Red Sign”
  • 1927 “Around The Corner From Anywhere, At The Little Red Sign”
  • 1928 “A Pure Drink Of Natural Flavors”
  • 1929 “The Pause That Refreshes”
  • 1930 “Meet Me At The Soda Fountain”
  • 1932 “Ice Cold Sunshine” and “The Drink That Makes Pause Refreshing”
  • 1933 “Don’t Wear A Tired, Thirsty Face”
  • 1934 “When It’s Hard To Get Started, Start With A Coca-Cola”
  • 1935 “All Trails Lead To Ice-Cold Coca-Cola”
  • 1936 “Get The Feel Of Wholesome Refreshment”
  • 1937 “Stop For A Pause…Go Refreshed”
  • 1938 “The Best Friend Thirst Ever Had” and “Anytime Is The Right Time To Pause and Refresh, Pure As Sunlight”
  • 1939 “Thirst Stops Here. Makes Travel More Pleasant”
  • 1909 advertisement
    1909 advertisement
    1940 “The Package That Gets A Welcome At Home”
  • 1941 “A Stop That Belongs On Your Daily Timetable”
  • 1942 “The Only Thing Like Coca-Cola Is Coca-Cola Itself” and “It’s the Real Thing”
  • 1943 “A Taste All It’s Own”
  • 1944 “High Sign Of Friendship”
  • 1945 “Coke Means Coca-Cola”
  • 1947 “Relax With The Pause That Refreshes”
  • 1948 “Where There’s A Coke, There’s Hospitality”
  • 1949 “Along The Highway To Anywhere”
  • 1950 “Help Yourself To Refreshment”
  • 1951 “Good Food And Coca-Cola Just Naturally Go Together”
  • 1952 “Coke Follows Thirst Everywhere”
  • 1953 “Dependable As Sunshine”
  • 1954 “For People On The Go”
  • 1955 “Americans Prefer Taste”
  • 1956 “Feel The Difference, Makes Good Things Taste Better”
  • 1957 “Sign of Good Taste”
  • 1958 “Refreshment The Whole World Prefers”
  • 1959 “Make It The Real Meal”
  • 1922 advertisement
    1922 advertisement
    1960 “Relax With A Coke, Revive With A Coke”
  • 1961 “Coke And Food”
  • 1962 “Enjoy That Refreshing New Feeling”
  • 1963 “Things Go Better With Coke”
  • 1964 “You’ll Go Better Refreshed”
  • 1965 “Something More Than A Soft Drink”
  • 1966 “Coke…After Coke…After Coke”
  • 1969 “It’s The Real Thing”
  • 1971 “I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke”
  • 1976 “Coke Adds Life”
  • 1979 “Have a Coke and a Smile”
  • 1982 “Coke Is It”
  • 1986 “Catch the Wave – Red, White and You”
  • 1987 :You Can’t Beat the Feeling”
  • 1992 “You Can’t Beat the Real Thing”

Did You Know?

The tradition that Santa Claus wears a red suit originated in a 1931 Coca-Cola advertising campaign. The ad was painted by the Swedish commercial artist Haddon Sunblom; the model was a retired Coke employee and, of course, the colours were those of the Coke logo.

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