Jacobs' Pharmacy and Historical Marker for the First Coca-Cola Served
Jacobs' Pharmacy was the first establishment to serve the now famous beverage, Coca-Cola, on May 8, 1886. Jacobs acquired the building in 1884 and later sold his interest in Coca-Cola to Asa Candler who later took control of the company from the drink's inventor John Pemberton. The building has long since been demolished, but this historical marker was installed in 2016 and shares the history of the pharmacy and its now-famous beverage.
Backstory and Context
The first version of what became Coca-Cola was sold at Jacobs' Pharmacy in 1886. The drink was invented by John Pemberton, a former Confederate officer. After being wounded in battle, he became addicted to the painkiller morphine. In attempting to cure his addiction, he experimented with other narcotics including cocaine at a time when this was not a controlled substance.
While cocaine may or may not have been included in the version of the cola sold here, the kola nuts were a core ingredient along with sugar and significant amounts caffeine from the kola nuts. Today, kola nuts are not directly used in the production of the drink but the caffeine in the drink and the sugar still post health problems if consumed in large quantities. The company also offers versions of the drink without sugar and caffeine.
Joseph Jacobs, the owner of Jacobs' Pharmacy, studied under Dr. Crawford W. Long, the doctor who discovered ether's value in surgery. Jacobs received a degree from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1879. Despite the historical significance, the original building was demolished many years ago. The Coca-Cola company requested permission to erect this marker to designate the importance of the location in 2016.
Asa G. Candler signed on as an investor in one-third of the Coca-Cola brand in 1887 and later persuaded Pemberton to sell the formula for $2300. Candler sold the brand to a group of investors in 1919, a date that could be considered the start of the modern Coca-Cola company.
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