Cocaine in Victorian Coca-Cola: Going… Going… Gone?

Cocaine in Victorian Coca-Cola: Going… Going… Gone?

We know original Coca-Cola (debuted 1886) did have cocaine in it–and not “a trivial amount”. The product began as a replacement for coca wine (just what it sounds like), when temperance laws outlaws alcohol, and Pemberton needed a replacement vector for his coca leaves. Looking back at vintage sources, it’s easy to see when cocaine was removed from Coca-Cola, and how the owners ensured their not-yet-trademarked product remained protected. Numerous credible scientists analyzed the syrup (from various retail locations), swearing to Coca-Cola’s freedom from cocaine, but the attacks didn’t stop overnight. Decades later, Coca-Cola maintained its status as a substance-free “refreshing drink”, a 180° switch from its Patent Medicine beginning.

Victorian Coca-Cola Gains Popularity…and Critics (Cocaine In My Soda Water?)

Victorian Coca-Cola Gains Popularity…and Critics (Cocaine In My Soda Water?)

“[Coca-Cola] has gained an enviable reputation, and has taken position at the very front of the leading and popular soda fountain beverages,” said The Atlanta Constitution of Atlanta, Georgia, on June 21, 1891. People loved the beverage (and its medicinal value), and many wrote testimonials in its favor. So why the complaints? A vintage article titled It Looks Like a Dangerous Drink, originally published in The Abbeville Press And Banner of Abbeville, South Carolina, on July 1, 1891 brings up concerns and presents arguments on both sides, urging consumers to draw their own conclusions. Had YOU been a consumer in 1891, what would you have thought?

New at the Soda Fountain: Coca-Cola!

New at the Soda Fountain: Coca-Cola!

Coca-Cola was born in Atlanta, and quickly gained popularity at drugstores and soda fountains, showing up very quickly a thousand miles away in mid-Kansas! Coca-Cola was touted for a wide variety of medicinal benefits, including nervous affections and sick headache. In less than fifteen years, Coca-Cola was widely known from New England to Los Angeles. Coca-Cola belongs on the long list of American Victorian Inventions.

Soda Fountain: 19th Century Courtships

Soda Fountain: 19th Century Courtships

At the Turn of the 20th Century (year 1900), the Soda Fountain was a safe and socially acceptable place for men and women to meet. Courting couples could enjoy a little semi-private time tucked in the back of the drug store sipping one Coca-Cola from two straws. Come see a vintage article written about why soda fountains foster romance, and how the Soda Men must safeguard themselves against falling for lonely maiden customers. Soda Fountains remained a courtship and dating icon from the late nineteenth century through the 1950s and beyond. What was the draw?

The Soda Fountain: Behind the Counter

The Soda Fountain: Behind the Counter

Behind the 19th century soda fountain counter, “baristas” known as Dispensers or Soda Men (or sometimes Soda Jerks, because of the movement of the levers when dispensing drinks), knew a tremendous amount about customer service, the making of an ever-growing list of beverages, and the care and use of operating the soda apparatus. While other trained men mixed syrups, compounded recipes for everything from soda water to flavorings to syrups, and cleaned and repaired the machines, this article focuses on the Soda Men and their key role in the success of a Victorian-American Soda Fountain. This post is filled with primary-source recipes, tips for excellent customer service, and instructions to properly pour a soda water or ice cream soda.

The Victorian-era Soda Fountain

The Victorian-era Soda Fountain

The Soda Fountain was a hallmark of late Victorian-era United States culture. Numerous patents and patent renewals show the developments in technology–just how complicated and how effectively simple the designs were. Vintage newspaper articles explain Europe’s reaction to Dows’ Soda Fountain in the American Restaurant at Paris’s Universal Exhibition. Soda fountains have come a long way!