Tuesday, January 3, 2023

National Drinking Straw Day

Today is National Drinking Straw Day, honoring the day back in the 1880s when Marvin Stone received the patent for the paper drinking straw.

It's fun to think about an old west cowboy swagging into a saloon and requesting a straw for his drink. 

In actuality, straws have been around a long, long time. The first known straws were created around 6,000 years ago and were used by the Sumerians for drinking beer. Apparently, there was a lot of solid sediment created during the fermenting process. A straw made of gold and inlaid with precious stones was found in a Sumerian tomb dated 3,000 B.C.

South American natives used straws to drink their famous maté tea. The straw, known as a bombilla, filters out the tea leaves in the drink. They were and still are typically made from metal alloys such as bronze – or precious even metals such as gold and silver.

By the arrival of the 19th century, straws were commonly made from wheat and rye. These straws left residue in the beverage along with a strange taste. And the straws became soggy quickly.

After using one of these straws, Marvin Chester Stone decided to create something better.

The American inventor, who's family created products like pen holders and pencil sharpeners, had the know-how and business acumen to manufacture paper straws on a large scale. 

On January 3, 1888, he received the patent for his paper drinking straw.

The straws were marketed directly to companies to sell in bulk. Made from Manila hemp originating in the Philippines and coated with wax, the straws were advertised as being sturdy, and they left behind no strange taste or residue. 

At the height of popularity, he was producing two million straws a day in his manufacturing plant. 

It was after World War II when straws became widespread. The materials to create them were inexpensive and the restaurant fare they accompanied was affordable and popular.

In 1930, Otto W. Dieffenbach developed and produced a cellophane straw. His company known as Glassips Inc. produced straws for restaurants and other products.

Straws were produced in fun shapes. One of the first mass-produced twisted straw was Sip-N-See invented by Milton Dinhofer. Dinhofer originally patented his straw in the shape of a scissor with two loops on top, but Macy's refused to carry the straw unless it had a character on it. They suggested Dinhofer make three straws, which were patented in 1950: a cowboy, a clown and an elephant. Each of the characters was attached to a looping soft polyethylene straw, and users were to sip from another detachable, small, straight, straw of acetate.

Inventors also created bendy straws, spoon straws, and crazy straws.

Today, plastic straws are on the decline due to environmental issues, and paper straws are once again used more often alongside reusable straws. 

Regardless of the straw used - wishing you a very Happy New Year!

USA Today bestselling author Shanna Hatfield is a farm girl who loves to write. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances are filled with sarcasm, humor, hope, and hunky heroes.

Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

When Shanna isn’t dreaming up unforgettable characters, twisting plots, or covertly seeking dark, decadent chocolate, she hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

Connect with her online at shannahatfield.com

1 comment:

Julie Lence said...

I had no idea straws had been around this long. Thanks for sharing, Shanna! And I always want a straw when at a restaurant or Starbucks.