In 1887, a thirty-year-old storekeeper named James C. Mayfield, along with E. H. Bloodworth and A. C. Murphy, became partners with Dr. John S. Pemberton in a patent medicine venture in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Pemberton was the inventor of several popular nostrums, including Extract of Stylingia, Globe Flower Cough Syrup, French Wine of Cola, and Coca-Cola.
The Pemberton Medicine Company sold a fountain drink called Yum-Yum in the Spring of 1888, later calling their beverage simply Kola, or Koke.
Pemberton died in August 1888, and the business was carried on by Mayfield and Bloodworth.
In 1893, they sold all but their Kola formula to T. J. Eady, a real estate speculator. Eady formed the Wine Coca Company and hired J. C. Mayfield as general manager. Together Eady and Mayfield became involved in several real estate ventures and formed the Guaranty Loan and Savings Bank.
Few bottles over the years actually had the name Celery-Cola blown in the glass. Most bottlers simply used paper labels to identify the product. The few embossed Celery-Cola bottles often are scarce to rare. the Hutchinson bottles are all rare, with Charleston, West Virginia, being the rarest. The crown tops run from common, like the clear Birmingham, Alabama, to rare like the Havana, Cuba, and the Quinton, Alabama.
By 1907, Mayfield boasted offices in Denver, Dallas, Richmond, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Birmingham, and Havana, Cuba. Hundreds of bottlers were using Mayfield's extracts for Vig-O, Peppo-Ade, Pepsin-Ola, and Celery-Cola. The number of bottlers selling Celery-Cola was steadily increasing.
In 1895, Mayfield bought Bloodworth's interest in the Kola formula left them by Pemberton. With his wife Diva he bottled the beverage for Atlanta's Cotton States Exposition. His wife divorced him in 1896 and began selling her own kola formula. Diva Mayfield, later known as Diva Brown, became Mayfield's fiercest competitors.
In 1899, Mayfield formed the J. C. Mayfield Manufacturing Company in Birmingham, Alabama. Along with partner Henry L. Brittain, he sold his extracts to bottlers across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South America. In 1900, Mayfield established an office at Saint Louis , and the next year moved his home office to Nashville, Tennessee, in a building adjoining Diehl and Lord's bottling works.
In 1901, Mayfield invested in oil wells in Kentucky and Tennessee, leaving his extract business in the hands of his three sons Stephen, Joseph, and Carl. At one time Mayfield owned over thirty producing oil wells.
to avoid having a precedent set against the Celery-Cola Company that Coca-Cola lawyers were sent to assist in the defense. The eventual decision against the Celery-Cola Company and subsequent bad publicity caused the company to close in 1910.
In 1905, the company became the Celery-Cola Company, with home offices in Birmingham, Alabama. James C. Mayfield was president and general manager while his sons lead the sales force. Carl traveled the West from Texas to Colorado, Stephen traveled Georgia, Virginia, and the Carolinas, and Joseph traveled the Midwest up to the Great Lakes.
Meanwhile, Mayfield's ex-wife Diva Brownwas traveling the South selling her Kola formula for varying prices to independent bottlers. She claimed her formula was the "original" Coca-Cola formula, based on her ex-husbands' association with Dr. Pemberton. She established her own beverage in Birmingham in 1909, the My-Coca Company. My-Coca was sold well into the 1920's in the South and Midwest.
Undaunted, James C. Mayfield formed the Mayfield Beverage Company in 1920. He continued to sell his kola beverage under the name Dope. He also revived his Celery-Cola and added a drink called Cherri-Kick. Mayfield's success continued and his beverages once more were sold from coast to coast.
The company became the Celery-Cola Corporation of America in 1929, but was unable to out last the depression of the 1930's
Early in 1888, Pemberton completed the sale of Coca-Cola to a group headed by George Lowndes. But this was not before Mayfield had been taught how to manufacture the Coca-Cola syrup, along with Pemberton's other medicines.
Mayfield's dreams of success were shattered in 1910, when the Pure Food and Drug Administration took his company to court. The Government claimed that Celery-Cola contained cocaine and caffeine in quantities dangerous for human consumption. The Coca-Cola Company thought it so important
In 1911, Mayfield formed the Koke Company of America, in Saint Louis. Using trademark rights purchased from several bottlers, Mayfield revived the Kola formula he had used years before and began selling extracts under the names Koke and Dope. The Coca-Cola Company sued the various Koke Companies in 1914 for Trademark infringement. The case ended in the Supreme Court of the United States in 1920, with a decision in favor of the Coca-Cola Company.