Home Food + Drink Who Invented Coca Cola?
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Who Invented Coca Cola?

Coca Cola was an invention of John Pemberton. John was an American druggist and a veteran of the War Between the States.


Pemberton was born 8 July, 1831 in Knoxville Georgia to parents James Pemberton and Martha Grant. His family moved shortly after his birth to live in Columbus Georgia. His uncle was John Pemberton a commander in the Confederate Army.

How Coca-Cola came to be

Pemberton was wounded in April 1865 during the Battle of Columbus, Georgia and was prescribed morphine to treat the ongoing pain he experienced as a result of this. He became addicted to the pain killer and decided to find a cure for his dependency. His search led him to experiment with the coca plant and derivative wines. He soon created a formulation based on his research, which was composed of Kola nut and damiana. He deemed the concoction Pemberton’s French Wine Coca. The increased awareness of drug addiction allowed his formula to gain new ground. It was especially marketed to women who were said to suffer from neurasthenia. It was also advertised as being a useful way to overcome drug addiction, alcoholism and depression, which was commonly seen among veterans. It was, therefore, first categorized as a medicine much before it was considered a beverage for regular consumption. It’s alcoholic properties were altered in 1885 after legislation prohibiting the sale of alcohol was enacted. The French Wine Coca was then renamed Coca Cola by Frank Mason Robinson. With the alcoholic content removed the new Coca Cola was marketed slightly differently. It was referred to as a brain tonic that was good for headaches and advertised as being “delicious, refreshing, exhilarating and invigorating” The name itself would become problematic later on when people began to suspect the beverage contained large amounts of cocaine. While the original formula contained 8.46mg of cocaine newer formulations have removed all traces of cocaine found in the cola. Cocaine free coca leaves are now used in the production process. The cocaine in the original version of coca cola maintained a stimulant effect despite its relatively low concentration of the drug because of the presence of caffeine.

Health Effects of Coca Cola

Coca Cola has been linked to obesity and diabetes in the United States. This has been attributed to the high caloric content and presence of high fructose corn syrup/sucrose in the beverage. Nutritionist warn that Coca Cola and other soft drinks should not be consumed in excess. Additionally there have also been concerns about the effect drinking such beverages may have on teeth. It has been found that the sugary and acidic contents of these beverages may slowly wear away enamel.

Coca Cola in Present Times

The Coca-Cola brand name and formula were eventually bought out by Asa Griggs Candler who acquired a stake in Pemberton’s company. There have been claims that the signatures on the documents that sold Candler the rights were actually forged. Today Coca Cola is a successful brand that outsells its major competitor Pepsi in the United States. While the brand has been subject to many controversies it continues to be acknowledged as being symbolically American.

For more information on Coke, read Who Invented Coca Cola and The Top Five Best Superbowl Commercials.

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