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.