Coca-Cola logo
Coca-Cola logo 1885
by Frank Mason Robinson
Names: "Coca-Cola", "Coke"

Category: Drink

Subcategory: Soft drinks

Inventor: John Stith Pemberton

Producer: The Coca-Cola Company
(founded by Asa Griggs Candler in 1892)

John Stith Pemberton
John Stith Pemberton
Knoxville, Jul. 8, 1831 –
L.A., Aug. 16, 1888,
pharmacist and
inventor of Coca-Cola
Production start: May 8, 1886Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Contour bottle patented: November 16, 1915

First price: It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass at soda fountains.

Recipe: Carbonated water, sugar (sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup depending on country of origin), caffeine, phosphoric acid, caramel color (E150d), natural flavorings. A can of Coke (12 fl ounces/355 ml) has 39 grams of carbohydrates (all from sugar, approximately 10 teaspoons), 50 mg of sodium, 0 grams fat, 0 grams potassium, and 140 calories.

Interesting facts: The name "Coca-Cola" was a suggestion by John Pemberton's bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robinson. Frank Robinson also had great penmanship: in 1885 he created by hand the unique flowing script that became the iconic Coca-Cola logo. The exact formula of Coca-Cola's natural flavorings (but not its other ingredients, which are listed on the bottle or can) is a trade secret.

Slogan (1886): «Coca-Cola. Délicious! Refreshing! Exhilarating! Invigorating!»

Property: The Coca-Cola Company

Producer website:

Coca-Cola bottle 1889
Coca Cola, the first bottle (1899) was produced in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Model "Hutchinson" with metal cap.

Coca-Cola bottle 1900
Coca-Cola, the first labeled bottles (1900)

Coca-Cola bottle 1906
Coca-Cola, the amber glass labeled bottles (1906)

Coke Bottle prototype
Coca-Cola, contour bottle prototype (1915) never made it to production: its middle diameter was larger than its base, making it unstable on conveyor belts.

Coca-Cola contour bottle patent
Coca-Cola, image from the patent granted to Alexander Samuelson for "a bottle or similar" (Nov. 16, 1915, filed Aug. 18, 1915)

Coca-Cola classic contour bottle 1916
Coca-Cola, classic contour bottle (1916)

Coca-Cola six-pack 1923
Coca-Cola, the six-bottles pack (1923) was introduced to encourage consumers to buy the product to take home.

Coca-Cola contour bottle evolution
Coca-Cola, evolution of the bottle. Alexander Samuelson of the Root Glass Company in Terre Haute, Indiana, designed the distinctive shape, and it was patented on November 16, 1915. The bottle was modified and slimmed down to work with the current bottling equipment and went into broader production in 1916. This contour bottle was the only packaging used by The Coca-Cola Company for 40 years until the king-size package was introduced in 1955.

Coca-Cola cone style can
Coca-Cola "cone" style can (1936). The oldest cans of Coca-Cola were all test market samples and never sold to the public.

Coca-Cola can
Coca-Cola can (1955). Never sold to the public, only sent to the military in the Far East.

Pemberton's Wine Coca newspaper ad 1885
Before Coca-Cola, by the same inventor: Pemberton's Wine Coca (newspaper advertisement, Orange County observer, Hillsborough, N.C., June 20, 1885). «French Wine Coca - Strenghtens and Exhilarates. Sustains and refreshes, aids digestion, imparts new energies to the worn or exhausted mind and body, and excites every faculty to healthy action. COCA is a wonderful invigorater of the genital organs and is a specific for all nervous complaints, such as sick-headache, neuralgia, wakefulness, loss of memory, nervous tremors, loss of appetite, depression of spirits, etc. Pemberton's Wine Coca will vitalize your blood and build up your health at once. Lawyers, Ministers, Teachers, Orators, Vocalists, and all who speak in public, will find the Wine Coca, taken half hour before speaking, a specific for the voice. WINE COCA is endorsed by over 20,000 eminent Medical Men in the world, and Pemberton's Wine Coca is awarded the palm over all other invigorants by physicians and people who have used it. There is health and joy in every bottle. For sale by all druggists, J. S. Pemberton & Co., Sole Proprietors and Manufacturers, Atlanta, GA.»

Coca-Cola newspaper ad 1886
The first Coca-Cola newspaper advertisement (Atlanta Journal, May 29, 1886). «COCA-COLA. DÉLICIOUS! REFRESHING! EXHILARATING! INVIGORATING! The New and Popular Soda Fountain Drink, containing the properties of the wonderful Coca plant and the famous Cola nuts. For sale by Willis Venable and Nunnally & Rawson».

Coca-Cola coupon
Coca-Cola coupon (1887). Believed to be the first coupon ever, this ticket for a free glass of Coca-Cola was first distributed to help promote the drink.

Coca-Cola advertisement
Coca-Cola advertising (1890) showing model Hilda Clark in formal 19th century attire

Coca-Cola 2023
Coca-Cola celebrates 125th Anniversary with a spectacular building illumination (2011); at the bottom, some advanced versions (2023)