Thursday, March 29, 2018

Suck it up and thank Stone

Does anyone recognize the name Marvin Stone? He is responsible for inventing something you probably use frequently.
In the 1880's Stone owned a paper cigarette holder company, which surely helped lead to his innovation. 
He liked sipping his adult beverages through a single natural tube of rye grass, but he didn't like the residual taste, so he came up with a better version of a straw. He wrapped a piece of paper to create a tube, then glued it together.
Once the paper straw tested well with local drinking establishments, Stone upgraded his technique. He began wrapping manila paper into a tube and then coating it with paraffin wax, creating a much stronger straw than the original paper and glue. 

This model was patented on January 3rd, 1888. Two years later Stone was selling more straws than cigarette holders. In 1906 a machine was invented to roll the straws instead of rolling them all by hand, and the rest is history.

Now plastic straws are being banned in some places because of the harm caused to animals and the environment. 

Thinking of my experiences with straws takes me back many years to Schmemier's Drug Store which had a soda fountain area. I sat on swivel stools and sipped cherry Cokes from a paper straw lifted from a straw container like the one below. Raise up on the silver nob then straws would splay outward so patron's could take one. Trouble with narrow paper straws was they didn't last long in soda bottles, because they became flimsy and unusable.

Then came the waxed straws, and they worked well at Bailey Farm Ice Cream where I drank chocolate ice cream sodas, my all time favorite fountain drink.

My kids had plastic straws, and also a handy dandy plastic cup with a built in plastic straw, and who can forget the curly straws? 

Did you know Nestle made a paper straw with the interior  coated with chocolate or strawberry powdered flavoring? Kids drank their milk through those straws in the 1950's.

Bill and I went to Florida one year and discovered an old fashioned malt shop. Oh the fun we had remembering when the manufacturer decided to wrap individual straws. Who me? Who my honey? Blow straws wrappers at one another? Make pea shooters out of our straws? Okay we did. And we are both proud to tell you we showed our grand kids how to fire a spit ball wad of straw wrapper at someone. We always cleaned up our mess though.


Val said...

My son Genius used a bendy straw to stick one end under his armpit, and blow into the other to make fart sounds. Pretty sure Marvin Stone never counted on that use for his invention.

Merlesworld said...

Don't use them much only when drinking out of a can.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

It's amazing that something as simple---and taken for granted---as a straw has such an interesting backstory. You're right. I had no idea.

Connie said...

Fun to read piece. My two sons, ages 27 and 23, still to this day blow paper straw wrappers at each other when we eat out in a restaurant that uses them. :)

Pat Wahler said...

My little Henry loves to sip from a straw!