June 1891
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Month June 1891

MORE OF COCA-COLA.

What Dr. Alexander and Dr. Baird Say.

A Talk with Mr. Candler—Rapid Increase of Consumption—Nearly Half a Million Glasses in Atlanta.

A great deal of interest was aroused by two short articles in The Constitution last week. One was a brief interview with a gentleman who said that persons using coca-cola were in danger of forming the cocaine habit had resulted from the use of that beverage. He further said in his card that a gallon of coca-cola contained the extract of only a half ounce of coca leaves, and no sensible man would undertake to say that this quantity in a gallon would hurt a person taking a glass of the beverage.

Mr. Candler was called on at his office yesterday, and when the matter was mentioned, said:

“I am having an analysis of coca-cola made by one of the best experts in the country. I have also asked for the opinion of of the best cocaine expert in the United States on the preparation known as coca-cola. I have offered to give up my business if it could be shown that a single case of the cocaine habit has been contracted from using coca-cola. If I thought it could possibly hurt anybody I would quit the manufacture of coca-cola instantly, although it is the whole of my business. When I get the analysis of coca.cola and the opinion of the cocaine expert, I shall publish them. In the meantime I suggest that you ask Dr. J. M. Alexander what he thinks of coca-cola. He has been using it for some time. I never heard him express his opinion, but I am wiling to risk it.

“I suppose there is not another manufacturer who states the composition of his compound more plainly than I do. Here is what I say in the pamphlets which I distribute everywhere:

Coca-cola is not simply a nice flavored syrup, but contains, in a remarkable degree, the tonic properties of the wonderful Erythroxylon coca plant of South America, which has a world-wide reputation of sustaing the vital power under conditions of extraordinary fatigue, and affords prompt relief for mental and physical exhaustion, or nervous prostration. It also has the stimulating, enlivening, reviving properties of the extract from the celebrated African cola nut. This forms the choicest, most desirable and efficacious remedial combination possible.

Coca-cola renews the vigor of the intellect, rendering the flow of thought more easy and the reasoning power more vigorous; it conduces to mental clearness and activity, freedom from fatigue and power of endurance.

It has gained an enviable reputation, and has taken position at the very front of the leading and popular soda fountain beverages.

The hearty, emphatic and voluntary testimonials contained in this book afford convincing proof that the Atlanta enthusiasm has been contagious and boundless, and is rapidly spreading all over the country.

Coca-cola is making large strides in all directions, reaching out into new fieds and acquiring great popularity where it had befere been unknown.

Its reputation has been fully established everywhere as a remarkable seller, summer and winter, north and south.

We have the facts and figures to show that millions are using coca-cola, and while we cannot produce their individual testimony, the only logical conclusion is that they drink it for the beneficial and agreeable results obtained.

The following pages contain a few of the many valued endorsements from prominent physicians, pharmacists and others “who know whereof they speak.”

Among the certificates referred to in the book the most important is this:

ATLANTA, Ga., January 1, 1891.—Dear Sir: The sale of coca-cola at my fountain for 1889 amounted to (…) gallons. For the year 1890 we dispensed 1,052 gallons, an average of eighty-six gallons per month for the entire year. It is now a well-known fact that my soda fountain business is larger than that of any fountain in the southern states outside of New Orleans.

The magnitude of my business has been very greatly increased by the acquisition of a large number of customers who drink coca-cola for the tonic properties which no other soda fountain drink contains. Another valuable feature about it is the great winter demand. While the early frost freeze out the other fancy drinks the demand for coca-cola holds good all through the year. Yours truly,

W. E. VENABLE

The following statement of coca-cola consumed in Atlanta shows how the beverage has grown in favor:

				No.Glasses  Year's
		     Gallons. 1 oz.5 cts. Receipts.
W.F. Venable		1,032	132,096	  $6,604 80
J.H. Nunnally		  677	 86,656	   4,332 80
Beermann & Silverman. 	  427	 54,656	   2,732 80
Elkin-Watson Drug Co. 	  376	 48,128	   2,406 40
C. O. Tyner	      	  336	 43,008    2,150 40
John Venable		  245	 31,360    1,568 00
Benjamin & Cronheim	  165	 21,120	   1,056 00
S. L. Phillips & Co.	  154	 19,712	     985 60
Other fountains		   88	 11,264	     563 20
			-----	 ------	  ---------
	Totals		3,500	448,000	 $22,400 00

What Dr. Alexander Says.

When Dr. Alexander was asked what he though of cocacola, he said:

“As prepared and sold here, it is perfectly harmless. I use it regularly, and find it has a delightful effect when I am tired. It is a mild, nervous stimulant.

“The soldiers in India eat coca leaves on the march, and it enables them to endure long marches without fatigue. It also enables men to go for some time without food.

“Fourteen gallons of anything would be injurious, but a glass of coca-cola occasionally would not hurt anybody.”

Dr. Baird, of the board of health, was asked over the telephone what he thought of coca cola:

“I don’t know anything about it; I have no idea what it contains,” he replied.

“Mr. Candler says a gallon contains the extract of a half ounce of coca leaves.”

“Oh,” said Dr. Baird, “I don’t think there is any harm in the coca leaves. That quantity would not injure anybody. I think the principle is something like tea. It is a kind of stimulant.”

A Card from Mr. Candler.

The Constitution, Atlanta, GA, Saturday, June, 13, 1891.

EDITOR CONSTITUTION: There appears in the columns of your paper this morning a notice of “coca-cola,” a preparation which I have been manufacturing and selling largely in this and other communities, for the past three years, as a soda fountain beverage, to the principal dealers, who have dispensed it to the very best people in the community which they serve. For nearly twenty years I have lived in Atlanta and been known prominently as a druggist. Among the citizens of this place I think I have a great many warm friends to whom I can refer for endorsement; that I have endeavored to live above reproach, never manifesting a desire to build up my own interests at the expense of theirs.

As to coca-cola, if your “thoughtful citizen” will find one person in all this country who is a cocaine user by reason of having drank coca-cola, then I plead guilty to their charges. In a pamphlet which I issue and distribute at much expense, I plainly state that among a great many other things which enter into its composition we use coca leaves. I have no objections to stating just here that one gallon of coca-cala syrup, which makes 128 glasses, as dispensed from the fountains, contains one-half ounce of green coca leaves, which are treated with hot water.

If your thoughtful citizen and prominent physician have got as much sense as they lack regard for correct speaking, they can readily see that a gallon of this syrup would not produce any decided effects attributable to cocaine.

Without any investigation as to who is using coca-cola I feel confident that I can truthfully say that every prominent minister, a number of our most skilled physicians together with nine-tenths of the business men, including all professions, are and have been for a least three years constant patrons of coca cola. Because a man once tries it and finds it to be a prompt restorer of his energies and goes back and gets it again and again should not be an argument against its use any more than against the recall of our family physician who restores to life and health the members of our family. That some people use too much of it, is not its fault nor mine, but I have yet to hear of a single case having been injured thereby. The popularity of the beverage is caused as much by the judicious advertising that has been done for it as by its own genuine merits.

We trust that as you have doubtless carelessly permitted the attack to be made, you will as carefully insert this plain statement of my side of the case. Respectfully,

ASA G. CANDLER

WHAT’S IN COCA COLA?

The Constitution, Atlanta, GA, Friday, June 12, 1891

A Popular Drink Which Is Said to Foster the Cocaine Habit.

“I want to call your attention to a very vicious and pernicious thing which is going on in this and almost every other town,” said a thoughtful citizen yesterday.

“What is that?”

“The drug stores and soda founts are selling enormous quantities of something they call coca cola. It is said to relieve nervousness, and ‘that tired feeling’ and all that sort of thing, and people are drinking it a dozen times a day. I am told by a physician that the ingredient which makes coca cola so popular is cocaine. There is evidently enough of it in the drink to affect people and it is insiduously but surely getting thousands of people into the cocaine habit, which is ten times worse than alcoholism and as bad as the morphine habit. It is an awful drug and the victims of it are slaves. I have seen it!”

And here the gentleman shuddered.

“A friend of mine was a victim of it,” he continued, “and he killed himself before my eyes. He got so under the power of the cocaine habit that he saw he could not stop it, and he took a pistol and ended his life.

“I am confident that a chemical analysis of coca cola would show the presence of cocaine. A physician tells me that is the ingredient which makes it popular, and it seems to me that it is a matter which the board of health ought to look into.”