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

Why Wendys Co Is Flying While McDonald's Corporation Is Dying
Motley Fool, January 31st

But as the Golden Arches flounders, at least one of the old-school burger slingers is heating up. Wendy's (NASDAQ: WEN ) stock is on a surprising tear this year, ... The company has also introduced several new menu items including pulled pork, pretzel...Read more

The Stacks: Eternal Hangtime With the ?Diner? Boys
Daily Beast, January 31st

And if it is an old favorite, this insightful review by James Wolcott (“French Fries and Sympathy”)—originally published in Texas Monthly, featured in his superb collection Critical Mass, and reprinted here with the author's permission--will make you...Read more

Stephen Talmadge Brock, 80, 15-year foster parent for over 50 children
Port City Daily, January 30th

He collected Coca-Cola memorabilia that he cherished, antique bottles and coins. Tally is survived by his wife of 57 years, Sylvia Griffith Brock; daughters, Missy Reynolds and Amanda Hood; sons, Matt Burkie and Charlie Brock; two grandsons, Kris Brock ...Read more

Zaxby's First Location in City of Monroe Opens Feb. 2
MyArkLaMiss (press release) (blog), January 30th

Located at 1608 Old Sterlington Road, licensees Randall McDonald and Ray Anding will operate the restaurant seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. “When we ... With seating for 99, the new 3,700 square-foot location will feature Zaxby's...Read more

Peanuts Producer: Where That Adult 'Mwa-Mwa-Mwa' Sound Came From
Hollywood Reporter, January 30th

A month before A Charlie Brown Christmas debuted on CBS in December 1965, producer Lee Mendelson invited the animators who helped make the show — the very first Peanuts special — to a private screening. As it began unspooling, with the opening ...Read more

On the road to spring training, January 30th

Coolidge Park, 150 River Street, on the city's North Shore, is home to a 100-year old restored working carousel and is also part of 15-mile Tennessee Riverwalk, a greenway along the river. From the park you can walk the Walnut Street ... Also of...Read more

Pretoria's Oupa Coke is Coca-Cola's biggest fan
Times LIVE, January 22nd

The most expensive Coca-Cola items on auction on the internet this week included a faulty 330ml can selling for more than R2-million, an old vending machine for R1-million, and a R5.7-million street artwork by New York artist Chris Riggs. Thanks to...Read more

Coca-Cola® Honors City of Miami Beach 100th Anniversary with ...
MarketWatch, January 15th

MIAMI BEACH, Fla., Jan 15, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Miami Beach is turning 100 years old on March 26, 2015. To celebrate the city's 100th birthday, Coca-Cola released a commemorative, limited-edition 8-oz. glass bottle. The specially designed...Read more