Who invented Coca-Cola?

Who invented Coca-Cola, the first soft drink consumed in space?

Space Soda Cans Coca cola and Pepsi

Coke and Pepsi cans flown aboard STS-51-F (2)

John Pemberton was a pharmacist and an inventor. Living in Atlanta, Georgia, he invented many drugs. Most everything failed, and none made money.

When the prohibition law was enacted in Atlanta in 1886, John Pemberton thought it was the perfect time to try the beverage market. At this time, the soda fountain was becoming a social gathering place, and the temperance movement, urging less alcohol consumption, was keeping people out of bars. He renamed and rewrote the formula for his popular nerve tonic, stimulant, and headache remedy, “Pemberton’s French Wine Coca.” He replaced the wine with sugar and mixed his syrup with carbonated water, creating the ideal “temperance drink.” The drink was first sold to the public for five cents a glass on May 8, 1886, at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta.

Pemberton, who invented Coca Cola, was unskilled in marketing, so his accountant, Frank Robinson, came into the picture. Robinson registered the formula with the patent office; designed a logo; suggested the name, “Coca-Cola;” and wrote the slogan, “The Pause that Refreshes.”

Coca-Cola did not do very well the first year, and Pemberton never really saw the success that followed. Before he died in August 1888, he sold portions of the business to various partners, including Atlanta pharmacist and businessman, Asa Candler.

For a total cost of $2300, Candler became the sole owner of Coca-Cola in 1891 and rescued the business, hiring traveling salesmen to pass out coupons for a free Coke. He plastered the Coca-Cola logo on everything – calendars, posters, and bookmarks – making it a national brand. By 1892, Candler’s  merchandising had boosted sales tenfold. He also tried to sell the Coca-Cola syrup as a medicine to remedy fatigue and headaches.  After Congress passed a tax on all medicine, Coca-Cola was only sold as a beverage.

In 1894, Joseph Biedenham of Vicksburg, Mississippi, became the first bottler of Coca-Cola. He installed bottling machinery in the back of a soda fountain and sold the beverage along the Mississippi river.

In 1899, Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead of Chattanooga, Tennessee, obtained rights from Asa Chandler to bottle and sell Coca-Cola throughout the United States. They joined with John Lupton, also of Chattanooga, to develop the worldwide Coca-Cola bottling system.

In 1916, bottlers decided on a unique contoured bottle that gave Coca-Cola a distinctive package. The identifiable shape was designed by the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana.

The Coca-Cola Company is a global corporation. The drink becomes popular whenever and wherever it is introduced, with foreign sales being 70% of its total income.

Coke was the first soft drink to be consumed in space.

“On July 12, 1985, Coca-Cola became the first soft drink to be consumed in space when astronauts tested the "Coca Cola Space Can" aboard Space Shuttle Challenger. Working with NASA, The Coca-Cola Company invested more than $250,000 in the initial development of the space can technology.” (1)

Space Coca Cola Dispenser

Mock-up of Coke dispenser flown aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-63 in 1995 (2)

Who invented Coca-Cola sources:

  1. http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/presscenter/presskit_120_time_line.htm
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cola_Wars


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