written by Rosa Morgan
I'll have you know that I, John Pemberton, am the man behind Coca-Cola. Some would characterize me as a wandering medicine man, who stumbled upon the formula. In truth, I earned my medical degree at nineteen and served as a lieutenant colonel in the Civil War. It was after being injured in the Battle of Columbus that I became obsessed with creating the ultimate medicine that was also the perfect drink.
Aside from running my pharmacy, I worked every spare moment in my analytical laboratory. I patented several medicines, but my first true success was my French Wine Coca. Mixing the stimulating properties of the coca leaf, the flavor of the kola nut, and the aphrodisiac elements of damiana, I created an intellectual beverage and invigorator of the brain, as well as a remedy for my morphine habit.
With the rise of the temperance movement, I knew I had to remove the wine from my recipe, thus I added sugar, essential oils, and citric acid. Of course, I kept the 60 mg. of coca in each serving; Sigmund Freud, himself, praising the drug's attributes.
Right before launching my new drink, I went into business with Frank Robinson, who I must give full credit for the alliterative name and eye-catching script for our trademark logo. My intention was to market the drink to scientists, scholars, poets, divines, lawyers, physicians, and others devoted to extreme mental exertion, but soon everyone wanted it.
Dying of cancer I sold two-thirds of the interest in my company, keeping a third for my son. Never did I expect he'd die shortly after of morphine overdose, and that my wife would die a pauper. And I truly rolled over in my grave when my drink was not sold at the soda counter, but in glass bottles, which customers could tote home. Fame and fortune eluded me, but nevertheless, the drink lives on with me as a small footnote.
Gentle Reader, To this day, Coca-Cola uses "spent" coca leaves to flavor its drink. It's the only corporation in the United States to legally sell a product with coca-leaves.
Here's a 1954 Coke Commercial