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Redux: Coke or Pepsi? Cocaine or Michael Jackson?
COCAINE HISTORY and "COKE"
According to senior citizens that remember, Coca Cola® (and later Coke®) was billed in commercial ads of the Roaring Twenties and the Early Depression Era of the 20th Century as
"The Drink That Gives You A Lift"
In its initial 19th Century formula, the drink invented in Atlanta contained both extract of coca leaves (cocaine origin) and kola nuts (good for digestion). The concentration of coca declined amid public and government debate of the evils of cocaine, until it disappeared from the soft drink during 1929.
The carbonated beverage reportedly contained a small amount of cocaine. In addition, the soft drink contained caffeine, also a "lifting" agent. At the time, a sector of the medical practice in America habitually administered cocaine as a pain reliever, even to children having tonsillectomies [see Houser, Karl M, M.D.; Sudden Death Eleven Hours after Tonsillectomy Following Local Application Of Cocaine; Archives of Otolaryngology ; 1932;15(2):291-292. Submitted for publication, July 18, 1931.].
Cocaine since before the American Civil War was used in toothache drops, in a surgical local anesthetic as procaine (for tonsillectomy and such), as an agent to fight morphine addiction, and in a cocaine-laced wine, among other applications. Coca leaves have been chewed by certain indigenous groups in Peru, South America for probable centuries. Why not put it in Coca Cola®?
According to the US Drug Enforcement Agency:
"Today, cocaine is a Schedule II drug (reference) under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, meaning that it has high potential for abuse, but can be administered by a doctor for legitimate medical uses, such as local anesthesia for some eye, ear, and throat surgeries. "
Thus, doctors are still permitted to use cocaine.
"Cocaine Fiends" from the 1930s
Coke - A Competitor For Sarsaparilla at the Soda Fountain
The Coca Cola® Website and various universities around this nation report that the drink in question was developed, then first sampled in Atlanta, Georgia pharmacy on May 8, 1886. Pharmacies had soda fountains and lunch counters and after the advent of the automobile, they sold gasoline and provided the first carhops in the person of counter men at the soda fountains as well. I know this because a relative drove from Cambridge, Ohio to the Southwest in a Model A Ford with siblings in the late 1920s and told about all of this. As a note of interest, McDonalds® restaurants were first staffed only with men in the 1950s and 1960s, probably after the fashion of the tradition of the pharmacy soda fountain male "soda jerk."
The developer of the llift-furnishing drink was Pharmacist/Dr. John Stith Pemberton, who experimented with flavored syrups. He reportedly carried a jug of the soon-to-be-named Coca-Cola® syrup a few blocks away to Jacobs' Pharmacy. There, he passed out samples that were enjoyed.
Remember that sarsaparilla mixed with sassafras was a root beer flavored drink first enjoyed as a non-carbonated beverage, especially in dime novels and movies of the era. The Pemberton syrup drink was a competitor of the root beer drink, initially without the fizz of soda water, though it was added the first day of sampling. Jacob's Pharmacy immediately began selling small glasses of Pemberton's soft drink at 5¢ each. "Nickel Cokes" were still around after World War II in some places and replicas of the small glasses are sold in department stores. Antique editions are available occasionally on eBay®.
- American Soft Drink History: Coca-Cola, "The Drink That Gove You a Lift
(A lift from trace amounts of cocaine) -- One of the original Coca-Cola® advertising slogans was
- The Phantom That Was Rondo Cola
Starting with the remembrance of the maker of this Hub request, Aya Katz, I contacted Coca-Cola Company and their products division. After researching my query, Coca-Cola Company send me a message. Greg in the Industry and Consumer Affairs...
Amazing - Should it be banned?
PEPSI(R) FOR DIGESTION
Pepsi Cola® is similar to the Pemberton beverage and contained originally the substances pepsin and kola that aided digestion. According to a small exhibit at the Historical Museum of Bern in Switzerland and the New Bern Museum, it was developed at a pharmacy in New Bern, North Carolina by Mr. Caleb Bradham. As such, it was given to the public 12 years after the Pemberton 1886 concoction, as "Brad's Drink" in 1898, taking it's current name in 1902 or 1903 (sources differ), about a year before of the St. Louis World's Fair.
In 2010, New Bern is 300 years old and a year of celebrations that include Pepsi is underway until the new year. See NEWBERN300.
One major controversy and excitement occured for Pepsi® in 1984, when Michael Jackson's hair caught fire during the filming of a commerical for this soft drink.
Coke® had cocaine and Pepsi® had Michael Jackson. Both were controversial.