The History Of Straws

September 30, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

John Kelly took a look at the size of our drinking straws:

  • Straws used to be natural bits of dry rye grass. They added an unfortunate grassy taste to drinks.
  • So an inventor in 1888 patented a straw made of paper. The inventor hated getting seeds in his lemonade, so the diameter of the straw was just small enough to prevent the typical lemon seed from getting sucked in.
  • The next big innovation in the world of straws was in 1937 when the bendy straw came along.
  • Then in the 1960s we got plastic straws.
  • And then in 1988 straws became weird. They became really wide, possibly because McDonald’s milk shakes were so thick that a typical straw couldn’t handle them.
  • Since chains prefer to standardize items to cut down costs, this meant that all straws, not just those used for milk shakes, became wider.

Read what this increase in the diameter of straws says about the obesity pandemic, details about the inventors we have to thank for our straws, and the straw industry standards in use today here.

Source: The Washington Post