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.
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.“
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