From its invention by John S. Pemberton in 1886 to today, Coca-Cola has become a staple of American and worldwide culture. As the consumerism of the mid-20th century blossomed, Coke showed itself to be a master of mass advertising, and it was this skill which helped the company dominate the American market. Indeed, even in 1886, Pemberton spent more money on ads than he made in sales, producing dozens of signs and other promotional items.

Aside from techniques that today seem quite conventional—TV and magazine ads, for example—Coca-Cola pioneered the art of brand recognition with an almost endless variety of promotional materials, from clocks to coolers to calendars. All bore the immediately recognizable logo and, in some form or another, the classic red-and-white color scheme. Many also included a Coke slogan, like “Thirst knows no season,” “Delicious and Refreshing,” and “Things Go Better with Coke.”

Collectors today can find a flood of Coke memorabilia and collectibles—part of these items’ genius in the first place was their durability and usability. To pick one example among many, Coca-Cola thermometers served a practical purpose that helped ensure a long promotional life. This set them apart from the posters and other advertisements that most store owners would routinely discard. As the decades passed and popular styles changed, so did the design of these thermometers. Some in the 1940s, for example, featured an Art Deco-inspired design.

Coke bottles, too, evolved over the decades, from a non-standardized hodgepodge of improvised glassware in the early 20th century to the now-classic curved shape known as the “Mae West” or “hobbleskirt” bottle, which was patented in November 1915 after a two-year contest to find the perfect design. Then as now, consumers instantly associate the shape with the Coca-Cola brand.

When Christmas came around, it was a safe bet that Coke would market Santa figurines, ornaments, or snow globes, all bearing the Coke logo. If Dad needed a way to bring the family’s cool, refreshing bottles of Coke on a picnic, he could buy a Coca-Cola cooler, a portable version of the larger coolers which retailers relied on to store and display Coke in the early years.

Alongside all of these items, collectors also prize oilcloth, tin, and especially porcelain Coca-Cola signs, some of which helped popularize the famous “red button” bottle cap shape. Other collectibles include tin-plate serving trays and even the vending machines themselves.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Coca-Cola Collectibles

Coca-Cola Collectibles

The Collectibles page of the official Coca-Cola website features photos and videos on bottles, signs, advertising, … [read review or visit site]

Bobbys Coca-Cola on the Web

Bobbys Coca-Cola on the Web

This site, a group effort, is a great reference for Coca-Cola collectors. Start with the timeline and product lists… [read review or visit site]

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Ralph and Carol Falvo's excellent collection of automobiles, petroliana, jukeboxes, soda, and general store items. … [read review or visit site]

The ultimate guide to vintage soda vending machines, from Coca-Cola to Pepsi to Royal Crown to Dr. Pepper. Start at… [read review or visit site]

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Recent News: Coca Cola

Source: Google News

Chipotle Says Adios To GMOs, As Food Industry Strips Away Ingredients
WABE 90.1 FM, April 27th

About 40 percent of participants indicated they would like food companies to stop using artificial sweeteners. And Roberts says following Pepsi's announcement that it will stop using aspartame, he won't be surprised if Coca-Cola announces a similar move...Read more

Buffett's 'Ringmaster' Turns Grand Ideas Into Reality
Nasdaq, April 27th

Part question-and-answer session and part trade show, it offers attendees not just a chance to listen to Mr. Buffett and his partner, Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, but also to browse and buy products from Berkshire's ever-expanding collection of...Read more

Panoply 2015: The 10 coolest things I saw, heard, ate and experienced at this ..., April 27th

Panoply's juried Art Marketplace contained goods for every checking-account balance: from $15 Huntsville-centric screen-print T-shirts and $20 antique silver guitar picks to $149 yellow sapphire necklace, $165 bonsai trees and $3,600 abstract paintings...Read more

GameStop, desperate for extra lives, seeks to sell old video games
Washington Post (blog), April 27th

It's why Coca-Cola brought back "Surge" and why a fellow retail geezer, like RadioShack, paid $4.5 million to air a Super Bowl ad reminding viewers about Hulk Hogan and Alf — before filing for bankruptcy. But GameStop's commercialized wistfulness has...Read more

Tuna sperm is the new foie gras? Highlights from Madrid Fusion Manila
CNN International, April 26th

This story complements the Culinary Journeys TV series, airing monthly on CNN International. See more of the show here: Share photos of your own Culinary Journeys on Instagram with the hashtag #CNNFood for a chance to be ...Read more

Three Iconic American Companies Ready To Rise Again On Wall Street
Forbes, April 26th

The company, for instance, has been closing underperforming stores, extended breakfast hours, introduced new menu items, and is even contemplating dropping the golden arches in some of its new stores, as discussed in a previous piece here. Coca-Cola ...Read more

Charleston native brings past to life
Charleston Gazette, April 25th

Terry Kimble (left) during filming by the Coca-Cola Company in 2013 of the restoration of a 1956 Coca-Cola machine. The machine was used for the ... What the 64-year-old Kimble does now has become quite the gig, since he opened a small antique shop...Read more

What's inside the Coca-Cola vault?, April 24th

A woman upset that a federal judge dismissed her $10 billion lawsuit against Georgia officials responded with a nine-page profanity-filled tirade against the judge — calling him "an old ... geezer" and saying he's on a "one-way ticket to hell...Read more