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

Seven Christmas traditions, including Santa's grotta and Rudolph the reindeer ...
Metro, December 25th

Shops in the late 19th century realised that people like to pick up small items for loved ones near the till, and the smallest and cheapest of these were Christmas cards. This tradition now continues year-round ... Father Christmas was turned red by...Read more

At Coca Cola, the newest flavour is austerity
The Australian, December 24th

Critics say Coke has moved too slowly since 2010, when it bought the North American manufacturing and distribution assets of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., its biggest local bottler. Outside consultants recommended a few years ago that Coke outsource ...Read more

Entrepreneur began taking risks in youth
Orlando Sentinel, December 24th

So he did what any 10-year-old would — he became an entrepreneur. Initially, he set up shop in back of his ... Coca-Cola memorabilia and an elephant lamp coexisted among leather furniture and a flat-screen TV. "He was not a braggart, but coming up ...Read more

Sea Change The documentary "Fed Up" says food corporations are pushing sugar
Press Herald, December 24th

Over the last three decades, Americans have doubled the percent of their grocery budget directed toward sweets and processed foods (by 2012, those items represented nearly one-fourth of total household grocery expenditures). Of the 600,000 food items...Read more

Santa Claus Through the Ages: Photos
Discovery News, December 24th

Collection of Business Americana. One of the first American Santas was depicted as the "right jolly old elf" from Clement Clark Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas," also called "Twas the Night Before Christmas." ... NMAH Archives Center...Read more

Coca-Cola Plans Large-Scale Light Show For New Year's Eve
The Chattanoogan, December 19th

Event goers will also make memories in the ChattaNew Year photo booth, benefitting the Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga, or outside in an antique Coca-Cola delivery truck. An outdoor family-friendly street party and Kidz Zone, powered by...Read more

Coca Cola superfan Davide Andreani's world-beating can collection featured in ...
Guinness World Records, December 8th

Italy's Davide Andreani received his first Coca Cola can back in 1982 when he was just 5 years old, an event which was to kick off a lifetime's obsession with the soft drink. Soon after, Davide began collecting the distinctive tins, with his father...Read more

Things go better with Coca-Cola? In this home, yes
Sioux City Journal, November 26th

Brygger's collection contains cookie jars, countless tins, lots of clocks, handcrafted airplanes made from Coca-Cola cans, plates, plush polar bears and more. Above the kitchenette counter, her last name is spelled out ... They went into a little junk...Read more