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How Coca-Cola was invented more than 120 years ago – and originally contained cocaine!

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Since its birth at a soda fountain in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1886, Coca-Cola has been a catalyst for social interaction and inspired innovation.

On May 8, 1886, Dr. John Pemberton sold the first glass of Coca-Cola at Jacobs' Pharmacy in downtown Atlanta.

Dr. John Stith Pemberton was a local pharmacist.


He produced the syrup for Coca-Cola and carried a jug of the new product down the street to Jacobs' Pharmacy.

They sampled it and it was described as "excellent" and placed on sale for five cents a glass as a soda fountain drink.


He served nine drinks per day in his first year.

Carbonated water was paired with the new syrup to produce a drink that was at once "Delicious and Refreshing," a theme that continues today.

Dr. Pemberton's partner and bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, thought that "the two Cs would look well in advertising."

So, he suggested the name and wrote the now famous trademark "Coca-Cola" in his script.

The first newspaper ad for Coca-Cola soon appeared in The Atlanta Journal.

It was inviting citizens to try "the new and popular soda fountain drink."

Hand-painted oilcloth signs saying "Coca-Cola" appeared on store windows.

The suggestion "Drink" was added to let people know that the new beverage was a soda fountain refreshment.

Dr. Pemberton never knew the potential of the soda he created.

He eventually sold portions of his business to various partners.

Then just before to his death in 1888, he sold his remaining interest in Coca-Cola to Asa G. Candler.

Mr. Candler proceeded to buy additional rights and gained complete control.

There has been a great mystery over the recipe of Coca-Cola, which has actually changed over the years.

For example, the original recipe actually featured the drug cocaine!

This, unsurprisingly, was removed way back in 1904 after concerns were raised.

Various claims have been made by people claiming to have found the original recipe, but the company always has, and probably always will, been highly secretive about the recipe.

The company says the recipe is now kept in a purpose-built vault in the company's headquarters in Atlanta.

Its famous red color was chosen because alcohol was heavily taxed at the time of its creation.

The creators wanted tax officials to know there was no alcohol in their product, so decided to make it red so it could be easily distinguished to boxes full of booze.

The company employs more than 86,000 people around the world.

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