The earliest days of Soda Water saw competition among bottlers and soda fountain operators for the nickels and dimes of their thirsty customers. The advent of nationally advertised soft drinks in the 1870s ignited a war for control of the burgeoning Soft Drink Industry.
Battles raged from the offices of soda pop millionaires to the neighborhood drug store soda fountain and even in the streets. The privilege of spending a nickel for your favorite soda pop was challenged by everyone from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union to the brewers and saloon keepers. Laws were passed regulating soft drinks by town halls, state legislatures, and the United States Congress. Legal decisions were set down from local magistrates to the U.S. Supreme Court. Government “Poison Squads” aimed to protect consumers from unsanitary and sometimes deadly soft drinks.
Thousands of Horatio Algers tried to make a “hit” with their own secret formula for the next Big Drink. Most are not now remembered except through the bottles, advertising, and ephemera now sought by collectors.
In 1913, the residents of Birmingham drank more Coca-Cola than those in any city in the world. Crawford Johnson’s Birmingham Coca-Cola Bottling Company had a capacity of 40,000 bottles a day and surpassed even Atlanta in the number of bottles sold.
But the citizens of Birmingham and Jefferson County were drinking more than Coca- Cola, they were also drinking Ala-Cola and Alpha, Cafa-Cola and Cola-Nip, Fan-Taz and Glee- Cola, My-Coca and Nifty-Cola, Pep-To-Lac and Pepsi-Cola, Rye-Ola and Wiseola. No city in the country could compare with the number of brand name and proprietary soft drinks that were produced in the city of Birmingham prior to 1920.
Many of these beverages were homegrown: developed locally by Alabama men and women and sold across the United States. Rye-Ola was bottled as far as Oregon, My-Coca from Pennsylvania to California. Others found markets regionally in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi, and other nearby states. Ala-Cola was bottled in Europe and Celery-Cola was sold in Canada, Mexico, Panama, Cuba, and as far as Australia.
Birmingham is also unique in the number of brand name beverages bottled in embossed Hutchinson bottles: Ala-Cola, Celery Cola, Coca-Cola, Dope, and Wiseola.
Some of these beverages were intended to ride on the successful coattails of Coca-Cola and found themselves in court as a result. Whether selecting a similar name such as Cola-Co or Fletchers Coca-Cola or using stolen bottles with the Coca-Cola trademark, these imitators found the Coca-Cola Company ready to protect its trademark and business in court.
Several local soft drinks were caught up in a sting operation run by the United States Department of Agriculture out of New Orleans. They were brought into Federal Court on violations of the Pure Food Act of 1906 and their reputations tarnished but brands survived.
Many of these drinks were sold in bottles with the trade names embossed or applied. Examples of bottles with trade names embossed are pictured herein. Others were in bottles with simply a company name and flavors were identified by paper labels and caps. Bottles, labels, and advertising are pictured here along with photos of many of the plants where these drinks were bottled.
With the birthplace of Coca-Cola barely sixty miles from the Alabama line it comes as no surprise that the drink soon arrived in Alabama. This book tells the story of Coca-Cola in bottles across Alabama over the next forty years. Over ninety Alabama towns have been associated with bottled Coca-Cola.
From the earliest days of bottled Coca-Cola in Georgia in the 1880s, the how and why of Coca-Cola in bottles is detailed from the earliest days. Explained are the mechanics of the bottling process, the bottles and their closures, distribution, the franchise system, and the soda water flavors bottled and sold alongside Coca-Cola.
A town-by-town history of bottled Coca-Cola across the state follows. Period advertisements show Coca-Cola packages and slogans and original photographs illustrate the plants, trucks, and wagons that brought Coca-Cola to the citizens of Alabama.
Over two hundred bottles are pictured in line drawings showing the variety of packaging used for Coca-Cola and soda water over many years. Following is a bottle matrix by town showing the incidence of Hutchinson, amber, script, block, and soda water bottles town-by-town.
For the first decade of the twentieth century more Coca-Cola was consumed in Atlanta than any other city. It was the city's most famous product and made Atlanta known around the world in just a few years’ time.
But the citizens of Atlanta were drinking more than Coca-Cola - they were also drinking Afri-Kola and Koca-Nola, Celery=Cola and Capacola, Fan-Taz and Pep-To-Lac, Dope and Koke, Jit-A-Cola and Ko-Nut, Nova-Kola and Rye-Ola. In addition to Asa Candler’s Coca-Cola they were drinking Daniel’s Koko-Kolo, Venable's Coca-Kola, and Standard Coca-Cola. Lee Hagan claimed to sell ten thousand drinks of his Red Rock Ginger Ale in Atlanta every day.
There were dozens of brand name and proprietary soft drinks sold in the city of Atlanta prior to 1920. Many of these drinks were local in origin yet advertised nationally. Afri-Kola was bottled as far west as Texas, Koca-Nola as far north as Pennsylvania, and Nova-Kola as far away as Illinois. Others found markets regionally in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and other nearby states.
Some of these beverages were intended to ride on the successful coattails of Coca-Cola and found themselves in court as a result. Whether selecting a similar name such as Venable’s Coca-Kola or substituting their drink on calls for the original, these imitators found the Coca-Cola Company ready to protect its trademark and business.
Here is the story of Atlanta’s Kola Wars from the 1880s to 1930.
KolaWars: Atlanta may be ordered online or direct from the author for $30 plus shipping to US address.
In a two-story red brick building on Marietta Street, Atlanta, home of Pemberton Chemical Company — Dr. J.S. Pemberton, President — bottles were being filled with Pemberton’s Stylingia, Globe Flower Cough Syrup, Indian Queen Hair Dye, Wine of Coca, and Coca-Cola. That was way back in ‘88, and little did this old chemist know that he had formulated a drink that was to quench the parched throats of a thirsty world.
Better versed in the laws of the laboratory than the laws of business, he sold out — lock, stock, barrel, and formulas — to people who had read his advertisement for a partner in the Atlanta Constitution, to Mr. O.A. Murphy, Mr. E.H. Bloodworth, and a woman who had paid for her share with her father's life insurance money.
Mrs. Diva Brown (Excerpt from the book)
This 120-page softbound book provides a complete account of Diva Brown and her life as the self-proclaimed “Original Coca-Cola Woman” This book offers new insight and information on the origin of Coca-Cola and its many competitors. Where possible, the words are those of Diva Brown and those who knew her: John Pemberton, Asa Candler, James Mayfield, Frank Robinson, and many others, taken from diverse primary sources: court transcripts, corporation records, letters, and original advertisements.
The book touches on the history of numerous soft drink brands associated with Diva Brown and Coca-Cola: My-Coca, Sherro, Celery Coca, Murphy’s Coca-Cola, Fletcher’s Coca-Cola, Mo-Cola, Orange Cola, Orange Smash, Deacon Brown, Gleeola, Gay-Ola, Brainol, Glee-Nol, Vera-Coca, Celery=Cola, KOKE, Wine Coca, and Lima Cola.
The Original Coca-Cola Woman: Diva Brown and the Cola Wars may be ordered online or direct from the author for $30 plus shipping to US address..
Presented here in full color is the complete set of over 300 Soda Labels offered to bottlers in 1905 by the Liquid Carbonic Company of Chicago. These pages have been painstakingly cleaned and restored to their original brightness. An index to flavors appears on the following pages. Liquid Carbonic was founded in 1888 by Jacob Baur to manufacture and distribute liquid CO2 for soda bottling and fountain use. Liquid grew to be the largest supplier of soda bottling and soda fountain equipment in the country. Their annual catalogs provide a time capsule of the American Soft Drink Industry. Just a year later, in 1906, requirements of the Pure Food Act prompted changes in these labels to comply with the new law. Bottlers would order these labels to match the same flavor extracts purchased from Liquid Carbonic. They had the option of having the name of their bottling firm printed below the flavor to further promote their firm’s products. According to the company: “Our line of Bottler’s Labels is of immense scope infinite variety, strong and original in design, and rich in attractive coloring. As owners of the largest label designing and printing plant in the world, our facilities for producing high-grade labels are unsurpassed. Our staff of expert artists devotes its entire time to originating new and handsome designs. Our serial labels, by ingenious similarity of effect (yet distinctive in itself) enable the bottler to distinguish his products from those of his competitor. All “Liquid” labels are printed on good paper, with superior quality inks. We carry all designs in stock and are prepared to make prompt shipment to any point in the world.“