When Did We Start Using Straws?

The Straight Straw

The drinking straw, as we know it today, is an older invention than one might think. Its birth took place on January 3, 1888, and was invented by a man named Marvin Stone who owned a paper cigarette holder company.

The “Bendy” Straw

By the time the 1930s rolled around, another important modification of the straight straw was set to happen. Joseph Friedman saw how his daughter had trouble drinking a milkshake. His solution was to take a straight straw and give it a bend to allow it to get to the drinker’s mouth. He took the straight straw and put in a screw. Then he used dental floss and wrapped it around the ridges of the screw in the straw. After he removed the screw, he was left with a nice bend in the straw. He patented his design in 1937, and the “bendy” straw made its way onto the scene.

The Krazy Straw

Sometime around the 1940s, a glassblower making a tube made a mistake and wound up with a tube of glass in a ball. Kids, as they are, saw a use for the error and began to drink out of it, according to Fun-Time International, the current manufacturer of this type of straw.

The Future of Straws

There have been flavored straws, scooped straws (e.g., Slurpee), super wide straws, metal straws, and straws bent into any shape imaginable. There doesn’t seem to be any end to the limitless design possibilities available for the straw.

Life Straw Kars Alfrink/Flickr

The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew and the Knowledge Stew line of trivia books. Connect at knowledgestew.com and danielganninger.com

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