Invention is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. – Thomas A. Edison
You might not recognize his name, but John Stith Pemberton was the creator of Coca-Cola—and the drink has a long history. An inventive pharmacist, Pemberton worked incredibly hard to develop a drink that could help deal with several medical ailments. He could have given up and gone along with his life, but he chose not to do so. Instead, he kept tinkering with his formula for Coke, making it better and better, so that more people would enjoy it.
Born in Georgia in 1831, Pemberton was a pharmacist by trade, earning his license at nineteen. In time, he met and married Ann Eliza Clifford Lewis. Their only son, Charles Ney, was born in 1854. Pemberton fought in the Civil War, in the Georgia State Guard’s Third Cavalry Battalion, as part of the Confederate army. It was in 1865, during the Battle of Columbus, that he was stabbed in the chest with a saber. Morphine was used to help him deal with the pain, but unfortunately he developed an addiction to it.
After experimenting with painkillers, he eventually developed opium-free painkillers, such as Dr. Tuggle's Compound Syrup of Globe Flower. After this, he developed the original prototype of Coca-Cola, using extracts of the damiana shrub and kola nut, which is derived from a fruit that traces its lineage to Africa. Pemberton first developed the drink in 1863—though, at the time, the formula was quite different. It was initially known as Pemberton's French Wine Coca. At the time, it was a remedy for headaches, a stimulant, and a nerve tonic—in other words, it was a medicinal drink that could be bought in pharmacies at a time when pharmacies didn't sell soft drinks.
In 1886, a prohibition law in Atlanta was signed into law. A pharmacist himself, Pemberton changed the formula to deal with this; the drink now had sugar, which took the place of the wine, and started being sold for a nickel per glass, as a soda fountain drink. It was advertised as the ideal drink for these times of temperance. The name of Coca-Cola was developed in 1896.
Pemberton began gradually selling parts of his business to Asa Candler, a businessman, as well as other partners. By 1891—Pemberton died in 1881 from stomach cancer, at the age of 57—the sale to Candler was complete. In 1892, Candler formed The Coca-Cola Company to sell the product. In 1895, the drink was being drunk in every part of the US. In 1919, the company was sold for 25 million dollars to Ernest Woodruff and a group of investors. And today, Coke is so popular and well-known that it's drunk in every country on the planet.
When all’s said and done, Pemberton worked incredibly hard to make the drink as amazing as he did. He could have given up at any time, but he chose not to. Instead, he kept on working with the formula, tinkering with it, changing it, until he achieved the taste that he wanted, the one which would bring joy to a very great number of people. He was inventive and innovative, and he didn't give up until he was satisfied with his progress. So, let's raise a glass (of Coke) to him, and be thankful for all the hard work he put into the drink. Who knows what history would have been like without it?
Affirmation for today:
Every moment of every day I am becoming more and more inventive.