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Part 2 - By Robert Reed

Women with adoring names like Betty, Elaine and Constance became part of the polished Coca-Cola calendar image during the teen years of the 20 th century. By the 1920’s the calendar ladies were posing at activities, which included baseball games and various social events. The company not only saw demand increase in all the conventional locations, but calendars were also being specifically allotted to public schools as well. They became a regular sight at many schools in the United States for decades.

By the early 1930’s many Coca-Cola bottlers were issued their very own calendars to meet the demand. Typically the bottler provided calendars relied on stock artwork of landscapes or wildlife, which laced the artistry of the company provided calendars. Often the bottlers added their own individual name and location.

Coca-Cola itself took a somewhat higher road in the 1930’s by calling upon leading artists of the time to contribute illustrations for their calendars. Norman Rockwell illustrated Huckleberry Finn in 1932 and used similar subjects for the company’s calendars during that decade. Frederic Stanley did the village blacksmith in 1933. Other notable illustrators for Coca-Cola during the 1930’s included N. C. Wyeth and Bradshaw Crandall.

In many ways the period of the 1940’s was one of the most interesting in regard to the production of Coca-Cola calendars. Starting in 1941 there were few more options for the calendar creators. That year the company began use of the term Coke as a suitable substitute for the full name. The following year the company introduced the Sprite boy into their advertising. When advertising sales of bottled Coke, Sprite wore a bottle cap on his head. When promoting fountain sales Sprite wore a basic clerk’s cap.

There were changes in overall design, too. Multi-fold Coke calendars were introduced in the 1940’s. Instead of large single sheets for each month, the calendars folded into six sections, thus allowing for two months under each colorful illustration. At this point, major outlets for the calendars were soda fountains and retail stores which sold the beverage in bottles. The more visually charming calendars were better at catching the eye of the consumer.

One marketplace exception once again was public schools. During the war years of the 1940’s the company provided a series of school calendars called “Schools at War”. The calendars featured battled scenes and carried slogans like, “Be a Lifesaver – Buy War Bonds and Stamps.”

The era of beautiful women in Coca-Cola calendars continued well into the 1950’s. However, other subjects and activities were also sometimes highlighted. Individual bottling companies distributed a series of Boy Scout Calendars, which were illustrated by Norman Rockwell. Others extended the brightly beaming Santa theme, which had proven so popular in the early 1940’s.

Coke added “zest” to their advertising slogans in the 1950’s, and also made available “home” calendars. Such reference or informational issue were pleasant enough, but lacked the measurements and sheer graphics of the larger wall calendars.

Today the higher valued Coke calendars are most always carefully framed when found at leading antique locations and auctions.

Condition is an important factor. Best prices are paid for those clean, crisp, unmarked, untrimmed examples without any missing pages. A full pad means that all sheets for the various months are present.

Recommended reading:
Classic Coca-Cola Calendars by Allen Petretti, Kraus Publications.

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