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

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Daily Times, May 23rd

KARACHI: The government is unlikely to meet the target of 5.1 percent for GDP growth in the current financial year, which may settle to 4.2 percent due to the underperformance of manufacturing sector though revenue target might achieve after revising...Read more

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Growing pains in both old and new revenue streams are a cause for concern. In researching public facing ... three months for the next release. They want to dress up, meet the actors and illustrators responsible for their fanaticism, and purchase...Read more

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Albany Times Union, May 23rd

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Why a century of Coke and its iconic bottle can't just be canned
Economic Times, May 22nd

It says the bottle is an integral part of the brand and to use it for "bottling and sale of another beverage would be an infringement of the registered trademark of Coca-Cola." The second was not issued by Coca-Cola, but a ... Coke was almost 30 years...Read more

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The 46-year-old comes into the ownership of her namesake diner with around 30 years of experience in the industry, including about nine years of managing the Port Byron Diner on Rochester Street. Owning her own ... Wall clock? Coca-Cola wall clock. And...Read more

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It turns out that interdimensional travel leaves you super dehydrated, for example – and creates a seamless opportunity for Coca-Cola product placement! (In some weird way, I didn't mind. Finding that they had Coke in another dimension would be oddly ...Read more

RCR Event Preview – Coca-Cola 600 and Hisense 300 (press release), May 19th

While supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on June 16, 2011, the 25-year-old Marine from Cuba, N.Y., lost his life during a combat operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was ... Newman is scheduled to sign autographs on behalf of Coca-Cola on...Read more

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I have never been a fan of theme parks. Even less so of the Magic Kingdom, which is a cheap copy of Adventure Kingdom in Veracruz, Mexico. What I really loved as a kid was to go to Pat Reidy's house. Pat is my parents' friend and co-worker. She hails...Read more