January 3, 2011

Drinking Straws Patented – 1888

Before Marvin Stone invented a way to manufacture paper drinking straws, people used natural rye grass straws, which gave beverages a bit of a grassy taste. The only alternative was to suffer the indignities of drinking without a straw at all. (I'm thinking of the way all the ice in the glass conspires to stay in the bottom as you tip your glass to drink—and then does a massive, coordinated strike that makes you choke and splutter. Thanks, Eddie Izzard, for pointing out this common ice behavior!)

Anyway, grassy taste and ice-cube attack didn't suit American inventor Marvin Stone. He patented a spiral winding process to make straws out of paper. After he came up with the paper-winding-and-gluing apparatus, he had to experiment with different sorts of paper that wouldn't get soggy when wet. He ended up with paraffin (wax) coated manila paper straws about 8-and-a-half inches long.

Since Stone's paper straws burst upon the world, drinking straws have been re-invented many times. Now made of plastic, some straws bend, and some straws come equipped with spoons on the end. In the straw world, we can also enjoy candy straws and Pixy Stix!

Check out some of the variety of straws available – different sizes, colors, and even shapes! 

Celebrate drinking straws!

Try a drinking-straw craft! There are tons of ideas here

And here are 10 games using drinking straws. 

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