In 1899, when the drink was only being sold in soda fountains, the two lawyers went to the President of Coca Cola and pitched the idea of it being sold in glass bottles. The then-boss of Coke didn’t believe this new-fangled idea would catch on and he agreed to sell the lawyers the syrup to do it – at a fixed price. The professors noted that he probably just wanted to get the pair of persistent lawyers out of his office so he signed the paper without thinking through the consequences.
Bottled drinks took off, of course, and Coca Cola found itself in a sticky situation. If the bottlers raised the price of bottled Coke they would get all the increased profit and the Coca Cola Corporation wouldn’t get a penny. The company got around the problem by blitzing the country with advertising signs promoting Coke at five cents a bottle and were thus able to stifle any price rises.