On May 8, 1886, at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta, Ga., Dr. John Stith Pemberton mixed carbonated water with a syrup he'd invented. The result was the world's first glass of Coca-Cola. The price for one glass was five cents, and Pemberton advertised it as a health tonic.
Pemberton didn't work alone -- his bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, suggested the product's name, which he wrote using sweeping, cursive letters. This became the product's logo, and you can see it on bottles, cans, trucks and signs today. While the Coca-Cola Company has introduced many new products and used numerous marketing slogans throughout its history, this logo has remained virtually unchanged for more than 120 years. It's identifiable in much of the world, and it's one of the reasons that Coca-Cola is one of the world's most-recognized brands.
This worldwide recognition didn't come overnight, though. At first, Pemberton sold only a few glasses of Coca-Cola per day. In 1887, the Coca-Cola Company distributed coupons for free samples -- it claims that it was the first to use this method of attracting new customers. In 1894, candy maker Joseph Biedenharn became the first person to bottle Coca-Cola. Suddenly, the beverage became available to people who didn't have easy access to a soda counter.
Bottling proved to be the key to the soda's success. The Coca-Cola Company started developing its global bottling network in the late 1800s. Between 1890 and 1900, Coca-Cola syrup sales shot up 4,000 percent. By 1919, the company had bottling plants in Europe and Asia, and in 1920, there were more than 1,000 bottling plants in the United States.
Today, Coca-Cola is one of the most prevalent brands in the world. The company sells more than 1.3 billion drinks every day in 200 countries worldwide.
What's in a Name
The name "Coca-Cola" comes from two of its original ingredients -- the coca leaf and the kola nut. The coca leaf is used in cocaine production, and from 1886 until 1905, Coca-Cola contained traces of cocaine.