Who Invented Coca Cola?

A Coca-Cola truck pulling through Miami. Editorial credit: pio3 / Shutterstock.com.
A Coca-Cola truck pulling through Miami. Editorial credit: pio3 / Shutterstock.com.

Coca-Cola is a world-renowned soft drink that has been in existence for over 130 years. It is manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company. Dr. John Stith Pemberton, a chemist and pharmacist, is credited with the invention of Coca-Cola. Pemberton discovered Coca-Cola on May 8, 1886 in the form of a syrup. The invention took place in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. It was believed that the syrup was capable of treating symptoms such as headaches, heartburn, and nausea. The syrup was sold at Jacob’s Pharmacy at a cost of only 5 cents. Those who tasted it indicated that the syrup was “delicious and refreshing” which led to more demand for its supply. The syrup ended up being sold as a soda fountain drink.

Dr. Pemberton

Dr. Pemberton was born in Knoxville, Georgia in 1831. He pursued a medical career which paid off when he received his pharmacy license at age 19. Pemberton married Ann Eliza Clifford Lewis with whom he had a son, Charles Pemberton. In his career, Pemberton focused on organic herbal remedies including toxin cleansers which he gave to his patients. He ran a successful pharmaceutical business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which led to him being referred to as the “most noted physician Atlanta ever had.” Besides a medical career, Pemberton also served as a lieutenant colonel in the American Civil War. He also served as a trustee of Atlanta Medical College which later changed its name to Emory University School of Medicine. His legacy was the invention of Coca-Cola. Pemberton died in 1888 of stomach cancer and was buried at Linwood Cemetery in Columbus, Georgia. 

Coca-Cola Legacy

The name Coca-Cola was crafted by Pemberton’s partner, known as Frank Robinson. Popular for his intriguing writing skills, he took words from the two ingredients that were used to produce the Coca-Cola syrup. These ingredients were coca leaf extract and caffeine from kola nut (he picked kola, but changed the k to c for uniformity purposes). When the two words Coca and Kola were put together they became Coca-Cola as we know the drink today. In 1888, Pemberton sold the business to a businessman called Asa Candler at a value of $2,300. In 1894, Coca-Cola ceased to be sold as a fountain due to the commencement of bottling. Between 1890 and 1900 sales increased to $4,000. Today, Coca-Cola has resulted in a trillions of dollars business as the company provides 1.4 billion beverage servings every day.

Besides Coca-Cola being an outstanding invention, it is sometimes critiqued for causing health effects to its consumers. Other issues that have arisen due to the worldwide consumption of Coca-Cola include environmental issues, animal testing issues, economic business practices, and employee issues.


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