The ‘This Week in Business History’ Series on Supply Chain Now shares some of the most relevant business and global supply chain events from years past. It will shine a light on some of the most significant leaders, companies, innovations, and even lessons learned from our collective business history.


In this episode of ‘This Week in Business History,’ Supply Chain Now Host Scott Luton relates true stories marking notable anniversary dates this week, including:

  • Featured Event: July 6, 1831: John Pemberton was born in Knoxville, Georgia. With a graduate degree in pharmacy and pain resulting from injuries sustained in the U.S. Civil War, Pemberton began experimenting with Elixirs. What started as “DrTuggle’s Compound Syrup of Globe Flower” would eventually become what we know today as Coca-Cola.
  • July 7, 1928: The installation of the first bread slicing and wrapping machine invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder. By 1930, Wonder Bread was selling sliced bread nationally, and by 1933, sliced bread officially outsold unsliced bread in the United States.

Scott Luton (00:10):

Good morning, Scott Luton here with you on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show on today’s show. We’re continuing a new series this week in business history on this program, we’ll be taking a look back at the upcoming week and then sharing some of the most relevant events from years past, of course, mostly business focused with a dab of global supply chain. And occasionally we might just throw in a good story outside of our primary rail. So I invite you to join me on this. Look back in history to identify some of the most significant leaders, companies innovations, and perhaps lessons learned in our collective business journey. Now this week in business history.

Scott Luton (01:04):

Hello, and thanks for joining us again. My name is Scott Luton and today we are focused on the week of July 6th. This week was a big historical week in business, especially in the food industry. And today we’re going to cover two big food related events that took place this week in business history. Let’s start with our first story on July 8th, 1831. John Pemberton was born in Knoxville, Georgia, not Knoxville, Tennessee, but Knoxville, Georgia. He had quite the interest and talent and chemistry and Pemberton would leverage that as he worked his way through the reform medical college in Macon, Georgia, where he’d earned a license to practice Botanic principles over the next 10 years or so. Dr. John Pemberton would earn a graduate degree in pharmacy.

Scott Luton (02:04):

He’d also opened a drug store in Columbus, Georgia, as well as serve as a partner in a variety of other pharmacies. The American civil war would intervene in the 1860s and dr. Pemberton would serve in the Confederate army where he was severely injured. In fact, he was both shot and stabbed those injuries and the persistent pain they continue to cause Pemberton in this postwar days would lead to an addiction to morphine at his pharmacy labs in Columbus, Georgia in 1866, dr. Pemberton would begin tinkering with a variety of elixirs that might help wean him off his morphine addiction. The first formula dr. Pemberton arrived at was something that he would name dr. Togolese compound syrup of globe flour.

Scott Luton (03:01):

One little problem with this concoction. One of the main ingredients was the button Bush, a flowering plant, native to Eastern and Southern North America. Pretty to look at, but dangerous to consume as a plant contained Seaford Lathan, a poison that can induce convulsions, vomiting, and paralysis. For some reason, dr. Toggles compound syrup globe flower never really took off. Can’t imagine why, but Pemberton would hit the Mark with his next elixir by shifting his focus over to the Coca plant and the Cola nut, dr. Pemberton would create a syrup that he would call Pemberton’s French. Juan Coca, dr. Pemberton would form a new company and take his French wine Coca from Columbus to Atlanta in 1869. It was sold as a medicine, initially, a powerful medicine, one that included cocaine and alcohol, but 1986, something completely out of dr. Pemberton’s control would profoundly impact his path ahead and would give birth to a global iconic brand.

Scott Luton (04:15):

The city of Atlanta would enact temperance legislation in 1886. The, some of the key ingredients that were parked, uh, Pemberton’s French wine Coke at the time. Well, they’d have to go. Namely alcohol working with Atlanta drug store owner Willis Eve enable dr. Pemberton would work through a wide variety of alterations to the SERPs new formula that would each abide by local regulations. The new alcohol free version of the syrup was mixed on accident with soda, water, and a star was born rather than be marketed as a medicine. Dr. Pemberton thought it would be best to be sold and marketed as a fountain drink, but one small problem still existed. What to call it? Inter one, Frank Mason Robinson, the prod of Corinth Maine Robinson had moved to Atlanta with a business partner in the winter of 1885. And as fate would have it, they’d strike a business deal with doctor John Pemberton.

Scott Luton (05:24):

Robinson’s primary role in the business was bookkeeping little. Did he know Frank Mason Robinson would make two very large contributions to the beverage world and global business history. First, by taking words from two ingredients, Coca leaves and Cola nuts, and with a keen ear for alliteration, Robinson would suggest that dr. Pemberton call it, you guessed it. Coca Cola. Secondly, Robinson would craft a signature style of the newly named Coca Cola and write it in Spencerian script, which was popular in the U S at the time. Interestingly enough, the text in Ford motor company’s logo is also Spencerian script. Frank Mason Robinson would contribute a name and the logo that would eventually be known around the world. The first glass fulls of Coca Cola would sell for a nickel in 1886. And it took a little while to gain some traction in Atlanta sales average, nine servants per day back then.

Scott Luton (06:34):

And well, that’s changed just a little bit here today. Coca Cola beverages are estimated at 1.9 billion daily servings globally back to dr. John Pemberton. He never could quite solve his addiction to morphine and would fall ill just as Coca Cola would hit the market. Although this new fountain drink startup would show a ton of promise. The revenue couldn’t come quick enough to Pemberton, especially when considering his pricing morphine addiction. He quickly sold off most of the shares of the business, but tried to retain a share for his son Charles, before he passed away in 1888 at the age of 57.

Scott Luton (07:24):

Unfortunately the young son, Charles Pemberton had his own problems with morphine and needed the money. And eventually not a single Pemberton would hold a single share of the Coca Cola company. Mr. EISA Candler would become majority owner and begin building the behemoth known globally today. One serving at a time for our second story here on this week in business history, slice bread is kind of a big deal right on July 7th, 1928. The first loaf of sliced bread will be sold for the first time in Chillicothe, Missouri, but it wasn’t hand sliced and packaged that take forever. And the commercial environment inner one auto Frederick RO wetter, the pride of Davenport, Iowa Roe wetter loved to tinker first with jewelry. Then with machines, he became owner of several jewelry stores in st. Joseph, Missouri, and whenever Rowe, wetter wasn’t selling watches and fixing things. He was building machines.

Scott Luton (08:37):

Eventually he turned his focus on a bread slicing machine. In fact, real water was so convinced he was owned something big that he sold his jewelry stores in 1916 and moved back to Davenport, Iowa to focus on his invention auto row. Wetter had several prototypes already built and was continuing to refine his designs. When disaster struck in late 1917, the factory that held all of RO wetters blueprints and prototypes was hit by a fire and all was essentially lost. Row wetter basically was back to working from scratch by 1927 row wetter had roared back with an even better design one that would prevent the slice bread from going stale. He had designed a machine that would not only slice bread, but would package it as well. Real water would file for a patent on his bread, slicing and wrapping device in 1928. Now that the hard work was complete, it was time for the easy task of selling the game changing invention, right? Not so fast as bakeries were not so quick to buy the bread slicer and wrapper machine. Finally, as fate would have it, RO wetter would reach out to Frank bench owner of the Chillicothe, the baking company in Chillicothe, Missouri, a town in Northeast, Missouri, about 282 miles Southwest of Davenport, Iowa.

Scott Luton (10:21):

Now it’s been reported that real wetter had a little extra report with rapport with bench, which stemmed from a project. The two work together on a few years prior one that involved, uh, a new bridge stand design, but this new project would make a much bigger impact. Frank bench bought RO wetters new machine and became the first ever slow sale slice bread in his bakery and Chillicothe. And boy did it really take off within weeks sales at the chiller coffee baking company were up some 2000% and by 1930 Wonderbread would be the first to be selling sliced bread nationally. And by 1933, American bakeries would sell more sliced bread than unsliced lobes. The newly added convenience of having pre-sliced uniform cuts of bread would lead to heightened American consumption of not only bread, but also jams and jellies and other spreads on a personal note, as it relates to the convenience of sliced bread.

Scott Luton (11:37):

In recent months, my wife, Amanda has absolutely perfected the art of homemade bread. So our family has really enjoyed the delicious development for sandwiches and toast with just about all meals. However, having successfully successfully sliced bread for four or five sandwiches for our whole family can certainly be challenging, especially if you had to do it day in and day out. Had I not had this recent experience, I probably would under appreciate the value of slice bread, but all things considered I’ll gladly spend a few extra minutes slicing in exchange for the extraordinary improvement in taste. Hey, back to Chillicothe, Missouri, the home of slice bread, it celebrates this contribution to the food industry. A number of ways from sliced bread Saturday, which is the first weekend in August each year to the sliced bread jam bluegrass festival. In fact, bread festivals features on national news and publications.

Scott Luton (12:44):

You name it. The state of Missouri in fact has formally recognized past dates as sliced bread day across the state. And what you know, at the Smithsonian in Washington, D C even has a real wetter bread slicer machine. Speaking of one auto Frederick RO wetter, he’d never make a ton of money from his game changing invention. The stock market crash of 1929, took a lot out of row. Wetters financial wherewithal to greatly expand production of the now in demand machine Roe wetter would sell his patent and eight in 1933 to micro West Coke company in Bettendorf, Iowa. And he joined the company and would retire 18 years later at the age of 71 that wraps up our look at the week ahead from a business history standpoint, those were a couple of stories that stood out to us. But what do you think, what stands out to you?

Scott Luton (13:46):

Tell us, shoot us a note to Amanda at supply chain. Now or you can join our supply chain. Now insider’s group own LinkedIn and share your feedback and your perspective, your favorite business stories. Looking back for the upcoming week. We’re here to listen. I hope you’ve enjoyed this fourth edition of this week in business history, focus on the week of July 6th. On that note, be sure to check out a wide variety of industry thought leadership at supply chain. Now find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from on behalf of the entire team here at supply chain. Now, Hey, this is Scott Luton wishing all of our listeners, nothing but the best do good give forward and be the change that’s needed on that note. We’ll see you next time on supply chain now. Thanks everybody. [inaudible].

Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott shares This Week in Business History through our Supply Chain Now YouTube channel.

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here:


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