National Drinking Straw Day

National Drinking Straw Day is a holiday observed on January 3rd, commemorating the date when the first paper drinking straw was patented by Marvin C. Stone in 1888. So, if you’re a fan of drinking straws or simply want an excuse to take the day off, then grab yourself a handful of straws, some beverages to drink, and maybe a couple of friends to celebrate this momentous day.

The History of the Drinking Straw

The first people to use drinking straws were the ancient Sumerians. They used straws to drink beer, avoiding the fermentation byproducts that accumulated at the bottom of their cups. Historians found a gold straw inlaid with blue lapis lazuli stones in a tomb dating back to 3000 BCE. Since then, throughout history, people have used various materials to make straws, including metal and ryegrass tubes.

The first modern drinking straw was patented by Marvin C. Stone in 1888. It was made of paper and designed to replace ryegrass straws, which became mushy during use. He also disliked how ryegrass tainted the taste of his mint julep. These early straws were made by wrapping paper around a pencil and then gluing the strips together. Later, he built a machine that coated the straws with wax to prevent them from dissolving in bourbon.

In the 1930s, Joseph B. Friedman invented the bendy straw while sitting at the counter in his brother’s fountain parlor. This shop was called Varsity Sweet Shop, and Mr. Friedman was there watching his daughter struggle to drink her milkshake through a straight paper straw. He took a paper straw, inserted a screw into it, and then used dental floss to create corrugations. When he removed the screw, he could bend the straw over the edge of the glass. Realizing he had a new invention, he patented it. In 1939, he formed the Flexible Straw Corporation, and by the 1940s, he was producing straws for sale to the public and hospitals.

After World War II, manufacturers began shifting from paper straws to plastic straws. Unfortunately, this has led to the current problem humanity faces: straws and other single-use plastics polluting the globe. Billions of pounds of plastic straws wash up on the world’s coastlines, and the problem is only worsening.

Observing National Drinking Straw Day

Anyone with a desire to observe this holiday can do so by learning more about drinking straws and their invention. It’s also a good day for people to learn about the destruction that plastic straws cause to our environment. Fortunately, one can enjoy using drinking straws without resorting to plastic ones. There are plenty of metal, wood, and paper straws available as alternatives. So go out there, enjoy National Drinking Straw Day, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #NationalDrinkingStrawDay on your social media accounts.

When is it?
This year (2024)
January 3 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
January 3 Friday
Last year (2023)
January 3 Tuesday
Products & Technology