Straws are Tubular

Have you ever wondered why we drink out of straws?


By Lucy C.-R.



Ever wonder about where straws came from? On January 3rd 1888, Marvin C. Stone patented the first modern drinking straw. He was drinking with a straw made from rye grass when he got sick from the grassy residue in his drink. He took a piece of paper and wrapped it around a pencil he then removed the pencil and glued the paper together to be a tube of paper. The straw he eventually patented was more complex than that. What he patented had a coat of wax to keep the straw from melting. In 1906 a machine was built to make straws. Although it was the first modern straw made with human-produced materials, it definitely wasn’t the first straw.

Some of the first people to make straws were the Sumerians. One of the oldest straws ever found were Sumerian straws made of gold and lapis lazuli that dated from 3000 BC. Because of the fancy straws, scientists think that there were even older straws made of hollowed out wood or grasses. In the 1800s rye grass straws were used but they weren’t the best because they would make your drink taste like grass! Even after the first modern straw there was still a long way to go before the straws we use today.

The next big innovation after modern paper straws was bendy straws. Bendy straws were patented in 1937. Joseph Friedman’s two year old daughter was having a hard time drinking her milk shake with a normal straw. Her dad took a screw and put in a normal straw and wrapped it with tooth floss then removed the screw, creating collapsible ridges in the paper straw. Making the first bendy straw. During the 1960s plastic straws became more common then paper because they were cheap to make and could be reused.

Today, these straws are used very frequently, almost daily by some people. However even though plastic straws are reusable, most people normally just throw their used straws away. Imagine a world without straws. Although they are a small thing you never think about, if not for Marvin Stone everyone would have to drink straight from the cup or drink with some rye grass! If not for Joseph Freidman our straws wouldn’t bend. It really makes you think about how many little inventions have shaped the world!