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Coca-Cola Syrup Dispenser

"The pause that refreshes"
Atlanta pharmacist John S. Pemberton created Coca-Cola in 1886 as a medicinal product. Early advertising refers to it as a "Brain Tonic and Nerve Stimulant," a remedy for headaches, neuralgia, hysteria, melancholia and all nervous afflictions. Pemberton also had several other proprietary medicines on the market including a French Wine of Coca, a popular nerve tonic. Coca-Cola was originally mixed with plain water and sold by the glass at soda fountains. Soon, however, it was mixed with carbonated water--and the "Pause That Refreshes" was born.

Pemberton’s concoction was propelled to success through the shrewd use of advertising and promotional campaigns. The earliest advertising employed point-of-sale signs, newspapers, and free sampling tickets. By the 1890s the Coca-Cola business had passed to Asa G. Candler, another Atlanta druggist, who expanded the sale of Coca-Cola throughout the United States. The slogan "Drink Coca-Cola, Delicious and Refreshing" appeared on posters and signs, blotters, trays, calendars, bookmarks and paperweights. Candler also used dealer premiums to stimulate sales. These included prescription scales, cabinets, wall clocks, and elegant porcelain syrup urns like the one shown here.

Made by the Wheeling Pottery Company, 1896
Donated to the Smithsonian Institution by the Coca-Cola Company, 1966
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