125 Years Of Coca-Cola

Ok, so the title of this post probably gave it away, but I’ll bet most of you were thinking it.

During a sunny walk at the weekend along Shad Thames I came across Coca-Cola‘s recent display outside the Design Museum.  Celebrating their 125th year the vaults of their Atlanta based HQ have been opened to reveal some “rarities from the Coke archives”.

A small, but carefully curated, selection of items from Coca-Cola, with some pieces particularly fascinating from a design perspective.

The logo itself was created in 1886 by Frank Robinson, and is lettered in the now so familiar Spencerian script.  Little known fact the reason for the script is due to the favouritism the typeface had amongst accounting folk of that era.  Frank Robinson was in fact Coca-Cola inventor John Pemberton’s book-keeper!

One of the most interesting elements of the display was the collection of bottles through the ages.  Despite some slight variations the visual identity has been largely unchanged in 125 years.

Well, you don’t become a globally recognised, iconic brand without some kind of longevity.

When the bottle was first designed, the curved frame of the Coke bottle was actually a nod to the shape of the cocoa bean (though the bean has nothing to do with the drink) and that general form has “sashayed in and out of fashion ever since”.

Some of the details of this relatively small display were fantastic too.  From the front you view an undulating wave of bottles throughout the years, but from the back you notice that the stands actually form the cross sectional contours of the modern day bottle.  Nice.

One of the great things about this display, was how well they utilised the space.  With, essentially, a glass box it can be tempting to cram objects and descriptions into the limited space.  But with equally limited space to optimise font size for distance reading, they successfully embraced some modern technology in the humble QR Code.

Just a simple tap on my phone and I had all the information in my hand.  Good work guys and girls.

Take the fascinating virtual and interactive tour through the remarkable Coca-Cola archives here to see much, much more.  I really can’t recommend it enough.


103 Responses to “125 Years Of Coca-Cola”

  1. 1 nikkie July 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    haha, the bookkeeper was probably so bored by his job that inventing a script seemed a welcome distraction from hi day to day work. he probably scribbled it down while on the phone or during some seemingly endless board meeting. Nice post!

  2. 2 Mikalee Byerman July 11, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    How much FUN! As a devout Diet Coke junkie, I approve of this post — and of your post being Freshly Pressed. Congrats!


    • 3 ehuecashflowsystem July 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      thank you very much, keep drinking coca cola. it will improve your health and body system.

      • 4 bykrydrgrl July 13, 2011 at 11:31 pm

        diet coke is like the best! and my dad took his now ex gf to tht and he got a pic of tht picture tht they only made 6 copies of…..btw did you knotht coke has cocanie in it? to hear more about this check out the this american life titled the original recipe.

  3. 5 Marko July 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Coca Cola is a great story, especially from a marketing point of view.

  4. 6 shortweird July 11, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Nice, thanks for posting 🙂

  5. 7 giancarlo ♥ cinnamoroll;] July 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Oh! Now I feel something burning in my throat. And only Coke can put out the fire..

  6. 8 jenniesisler July 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    This is fascinating! Thanks for sharing it and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. This totally appeals to the triva/information geek in me:)

  7. 9 railtrailed July 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    If you want the inside story on Coke and what its like selling it go to my blog because there will be many stories shortly from the inside of the machine-

  8. 10 Alfrodull July 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Very cool post! love the Coke design, and the drink as well ofcorse…
    Congrats on the freshly pressed…

  9. 11 The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife July 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    I wrote my main high school English paper all about Coke. Apparently I loved it a lot.

  10. 12 Renee July 11, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Congrats on being FP. Great Post – love Coca-Cola:)

  11. 13 ciaranaustin July 11, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Love this post, great work! Can’t wait to see where this amazing company goes in the future.


  12. 14 Tim GARRATT July 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Fantastic post! I think Coca Cola is one of those enduring brands which just can’t do much wrong. And for me you have to only have the full-fat stuff. You might be interested in some subvesive work done by Cildo Meireles – and exhibited in Nottingham England last year. He took some bottles out of circulation and over-printed them with messages. Then put them back in circulation! I blogged about it here – http://timgarrattnottingham.co.uk/2010/06/07/nottingham-contemporary-good-but-quiet/

  13. 16 Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide July 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Very cool photos. Is it bad that it makes me want to revisit the Guinness factory. I know weird. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  14. 18 Deletrius July 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Nice! I have always been addicted to sprite, but since it comes from the same company – PROPS!

  15. 20 saviressej July 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    My whole family are Coke fans. I need one now. Cool stuff.

  16. 21 tbelcheva July 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Coooool! Love COKE 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  17. 22 wadingacross July 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I like and have a bit more respect for Coca Cola now having found out that they didn’t do business with Senomyx (a company which makes and tests artificial flavors and “enhancers” – which has/is using human cells… having come from an abortion). The same cannot be said for Pepsi.

    Our household has always been primarily a Coca Cola product house…. NOT Pepsi, even before we found out about the aborted human cell use scandal.

    That said, with all of the fake sweeteners used in diet sodas these days, and the hfc syrup in the normal sodas, we’ve been trying to wean ourselves off of soda entirely in the interest of general health and diet.

  18. 23 be awake July 11, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    it’s great to see how things are developed! the old glass bottles are awesome!

  19. 25 DS July 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I’m working at Coca-Cola right now!! Check out my blog, http://www.theverbalpurple.wordpress.com!

  20. 26 thefoolfoldshisarms July 11, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Nice post – interesting to see the QR code creep into unexpected places! The little bit about the script was interesting to learn as well – have been around some Coke collectors and didn’t know this!

  21. 28 politeandparanoid July 11, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! I’m taking the virtual tour 🙂 Congratulations on being FPed, too!

  22. 29 ournote2self July 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Interesting post. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  23. 30 aaa July 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Вообще-то, я считаю этот напиток вредным для здоровья Человека, тем более для подростков. А подростки глупо поглощают литрами это пойло ((, с молчаливого согласия безграмотных родителей.(((

  24. 31 Be Demonstrable July 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Have you seen that advertisement regarding the polar bear throwing away the Coca Cola in favor of Pepsi? Such a fallacy.

  25. 32 Karen July 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I ALWAYS ask “Do you have coke or pepsie?” If the waitress answers, “pepsie”, my reply is, “I’ll take water w/ lemon please.” I love diet coke.
    Nice post.

  26. 33 Skatha July 11, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    I have visited the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia twice; most recently in 2005. I didn’t realise how widespread Coke is until I sat down to watch their short movie about the brand. It is amazing! I also liked that there was a room in which you could sample the drinks that the Coca-Cola Company produces outside the US, in addition to its trademark drink.


  27. 35 Eva McCane July 11, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    had no idea it’d been around that long! i don’t really drink pop myself, but perhaps i’ll take a pull off an ice cold coke tonight just to get in the spirit.

  28. 37 stormskyblue July 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. I like to visit the unusual and unique places along my journey. I remember riding in the backseat of the family car as a child and seeing the signs that advertized the next fun place to visit. I would quietly wish, “Oh please, I hope we get to stop!” Dad would drive right on past and my hopes would be dashed! Now I’m in charge of the vehicle, and I stop at all the interesting places along life’s highway.

  29. 38 fornormalstepfathers July 11, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Interesting information.

    I had never thought typeface can be fascinating until I watched Helvetica (2007)


  30. 39 Lost on the IF Highway July 11, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    I LOVE Coca-Cola memorabilia and history! Your blog is incredibly fun and informative. Thank you to the link for the virtual tour. Fantastic! My husband is irritated with you because your post has renewed my thirst for more Coke stuff! You should see my kitchen. I’m trying to find a new place for more stuff!

  31. 40 Perla Nabor July 12, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Nice post…Congrats being FP-ed. Coke is the number 1 soft drink here in the Philippines. Every season they feature Coke collectibles like plates, drinking glass, etc.

  32. 41 learntolive101 July 12, 2011 at 2:05 am

    sweet blog!!!!
    check out “learntolive101”
    a new up and coming blog site that needs your help.
    i dare you to leave a comment 🙂

  33. 42 livingdelilah July 12, 2011 at 2:44 am

    I loved this post because I collect coke bottles from every country I visit (they are all shaped differently). Thanks for sharing!

  34. 44 Arte Doris July 12, 2011 at 2:47 am

    Have to say, Branding At It’s best. The Coca-Cola logo, like the product itself, is rated among the most recognized logo design and brands in the world. Good post.

  35. 46 truthspew July 12, 2011 at 3:12 am

    And I actually scanned a QR code off your image. Pretty cool!

  36. 48 Cherszy July 12, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Ah! The legendary Coca Cola! I’m not really a fan of softdrinks, especially Coca Cola because I found it too acidic for me. My body reacts violently even with just a mouthful of Coke. However, I can’t deny the fact that this company has truly dominated the world through the years in terms of beverages. Not that I’m saying it’s a healthy choice – it’s really just popular enough to seep through the lives of many.

    Interesting post! 🙂

  37. 49 TL July 12, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Coca-Cola 🙂 an epic and classic brand. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!!! Go celebrate and drink some coke 🙂

  38. 50 ladyjaws July 12, 2011 at 4:02 am

    As a brand they really nailed it. everyone knows what coca cola is

  39. 51 Auspicious Wedding Dates July 12, 2011 at 4:16 am

    I used to drink a lot of coke. But for health reasons, I went back to good ole water. Glad that the first thing that came to mind when I read “quick name a soft drink” was “soft drink…?”

  40. 52 mkeeffer July 12, 2011 at 5:42 am

    I still like the old-style bottles. Guess they’re a lot more expensive to produce than aluminium cans today.

    Thanks for a nostalgic look back. I remember having a Coke was a real treat when I was a kid.

  41. 53 Runaway Bee July 12, 2011 at 5:58 am

    hmm… long journey that I know…Nice

  42. 54 Addison July 12, 2011 at 6:36 am

    This is pretty awesome! It is not something you come across everyday. I need to invest in a smart phone thought, for reasons such as these.

  43. 56 Jackie Paulson Author July 12, 2011 at 6:53 am

    I love coke a cola, and that is why I gained wait. Thanks for the 125 Years of memories.

  44. 58 fortzion21 July 12, 2011 at 7:36 am

    lovely…a coke_geeks/junky like me..i jus love this…lovely..am just lost for words!

  45. 60 matthewhyde July 12, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Looks like an interesting display, more interesting than you’d expect… Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed 🙂

  46. 61 bmillemathias July 12, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Damn, CC is already 125 years old.

    I remember so clearly during the summer 86 drinking a Coke at my Grand-ma’s house and the 100th years celebration on the packaging.

  47. 62 leadinglight July 12, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Did they have anything on their advertising campaigns? I’m an ardent admirer of those.

  48. 64 adimase July 12, 2011 at 9:43 am

    ooh fery long..
    I have social bookmark http://Www.beritabaris.com
    I hope you can visit my web.

  49. 65 business promotionals products July 12, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Coke has always been associated with good memories. It is a very established product and information like the one you’ve posted here made me realize how little I know about Coke. Thanks for posting this.

  50. 67 londonchoirgirl July 12, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I’ve always had the idea that Coca Cola was responsible for making Santa Claus’s coat red (apparently in the nineteenth century it was blue). Does anyone know if this is true?

  51. 68 inspirationalgeek July 12, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Thanks to everyone who has commented! Inspirational Geek appreciates all the support.

  52. 69 abhidworx July 12, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Coca-Cola is my favorite drink. Congratulations to coca-cola for completing 125 years

  53. 70 Vasare July 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    great post, coke is definitely one of my favourite drinks, congrats on your post:)


  54. 71 websitedangcap July 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Woooww That’s pretty amazing !! 3ash ya masr 😀 !! Wondering how Coca Cola here in the states never thought about a 125th anniversery ad campaign !! wish i can make a Tv. Ad copy like this for my Coca Cola Tv ad assignement which is supposed to be presented in 3 Hours, Ya Mosahel !!
    My comany just 1 m hii – http://Iclick.vn

  55. 72 fey's diary July 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I love coca-cola so much!

  56. 73 Pamela Kay Noble Brown July 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Inspirational Geek, I really enjoyed your article. And that was genius to include the virtual tour of the coke memorabilia. I remember being in Atlanta, GA during the 1996 Summer Olympics and the tour of the Coca Cola building in Atlanta was all the rage. Tour buses lined the streets along the side of the building. Well worth it though. The jingle that I remember most through the years is “A coke and a smile”.

  57. 74 Piggyjo July 12, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    COKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOREVER

  58. 75 gaycarboys July 12, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Wow. And when I asked myself the question I answered COKE! Bloody Hell!

  59. 76 รับสร้างบ้าน July 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Is very good and very interesting.

  60. 77 theshopwindow July 12, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    The QR Code’s idea is awesome, I think we will start seeing this more and more often. The display design is excellent many and weel thought details all over it.

    Great post and crongrat for being Freshly Press!


  61. 78 Friv July 13, 2011 at 3:56 am

    Great post ! I love Coke 🙂

  62. 79 dred July 13, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Interesting information. Thanks this post

  63. 80 ashrules24 July 13, 2011 at 5:03 am

    Very well. Should name it a “Historic” post.

  64. 82 sup3r86 July 13, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    I wish to visit the Museum. I love COke

  65. 84 CHRISTINA RAS HOUR July 14, 2011 at 6:32 am

    It must`ve been boring without Coca-Cola.. So cheers to the exceptional years.. :))

  66. 85 free iphone 5 get it now July 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    GREAT REVIEW! I pretty much agree with all your thoughts you said in your article, especially at the end of your article. Thank you, this info is very valuable as always. Keep up the good work! You’ve got +1 more reader of your blog:) Isabella S.

  67. 86 free iphone 5 July 15, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    GREAT REVIEW! I agree with all your thoughts you said in your article, especially at the end of your article. Thank you, this info is very valuable as always. Keep up the good work! You’ve got +1 more reader of your great blog:) Isabella S.

  68. 87 free iphone 5 site July 17, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Great review! This is exactly the type of information that should be shared around the web. Sad on the search engines for not ranking this article higher!

  69. 88 free iphone 5 July 18, 2011 at 10:34 am

    GREAT REVIEW! I pretty much agree with all you said in your article, especially at the beggining of your article. Thank you, your post is very useful as always. Keep up the good work! You’ve got +1 more reader of your blog:) Isabella S.

  70. 89 wiibii July 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    FAV beverage ever.

  71. 90 Medicine July 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm


  72. 91 Custom Logo Design July 23, 2011 at 7:41 am

    I’ve quit drinking cold drinks. but COKE is awesome drink.

  73. 92 realanonymousgirl2011 July 25, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks for the post. I love things with history.

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