John S. Pemberton, an experimental pharmacist standing over an old kettle in Atlanta, Georgia, tried over 300 combinations of herbs and spices during a period of over four years before he finally came up with a liquid that tasted in his own words "all right". That magic brew was named Coca-Cola and speculation still exists about whether the potion was developed as a soft drink or as a "cure-all" headache tonic. The Coca-Cola Company has produced a wealth of advertising and novelty give-aways for collectors. Starting in 1891, the company produced at least one calendar a year. The serving trays and tip trays were also a regular production. Because Coca-Cola did so much advertising, there are many bottles, trays, calendars, periodical advertising, just to name a few categories for collectors. Many different Baird clock versions still exist, and early medicinal claim advertising is the most sought after of all.
Prior to the patent of the hobbleskirt bottle in 1915, there were as many variations in bottles as there were bottlers--thus the reason for the hobbleskirt bottle in the first place, to have the same bottle everywhere. The bottles before the hobbleskirt are known as the Hutchinson bottle, the root bottle and the straight sided bottle. They can be found in many shades of aqua, blue, amber and even amethyst.
There are many commemorative bottles in 6.5oz, 8 oz, 10 oz straight sided (such as the 75th Anniversary ones and the ones pictured above) and 10 oz "tall" bottles. They can be commemorating anything from the anniversary of a bottler, a store, company, town, city, event, etc, the list could go on and on. My favorites are the ones commemorating cartoon characters and Disney. And I love my foreign bottles as well.
There are many sources for collecting these bottles, such as flea markets, antique malls, collectibles stores, and even the internet. Richard Mix gives the best price guide for soda bottles, his last effort being three books, one on Coca-Cola bottles, one for the foreign "Christmas" bottles and then an additional one on Pepsi and some other brands. Info on how to obtain a price guide can be found on the SOURCE page, along with some other good sources of information regarding collecting.
Some other significant dates for Coca-Cola: .
Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead from Chattanooga, Tennessee, were granted the first bottling rights in the whole U.S. for Coca-Cola.
Fanta was introduced by Coca-Cola, its first major marketing in the U.S. of a non-cola drink. It originated from Germany during WWII. A line of flavors bottled in Germany when Coca-Cola syrup was not available. Revived by The Coca-Cola Company in 1960 with a complete line of fruit flavors. Very interesting cans including a foreign set with Disney characters, tin signs, bottles and plastic clocks are collectible.
Sprite was also introduced by the Coca-Cola Co. to challenge the 7Up market. Some nice cans for the collector, bottles are okay and there are also interesting signs and a number of plastic clocks. Sprite will be more collectible in the future
Tab was the first diet drink produced by the Coca-Cola Co. There are unusual glasses, some good signs, plastic clocks and a nice selection of cans, but the bottles are not very interesting.
See also: BIG CHIEF
and Coca-Cola Flavor Bottles