National Drinking Straw Day
National Drinking Straw Day is a holiday that’s observed on the 3rd of January and commemorates 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 get yourself a handful of straws, some beverages to drink, and maybe a couple of friends together 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 so they could avoid accidentally drinking the fermentation byproducts that would accumulate at the bottom of a cup of beer. Historians found a gold straw inlaid with blue lapis lazuli stones in a tomb that dates back to 3,000 BCE. Since that time, and all through history, people have used a variety of materials for making straws including metal or even ryegrass tubes.
The first modern drinking straw, however, was patented by Marvin C. Stone in 1888. It was made out of paper and was designed to be a replacement for ryegrass straws-straws that became mushing while being used. He also didn’t like the way the ryegrass tainted the taste of the mint julep that he was enjoying. These early straws were made by wrapping paper around a pencil and then gluing the strips. Later on, he would build a machine that coated the straws with wax to prevent them from dissolving in bourbon.
In the 1930s, Joseph B. Friedman would invent the bendy straw while sitting at the counter in his brother’s found parlor. This shop was called Varsity Sweet Shop and Mr. Friedman was in that shop watching his daughter struggle to drink her milkshake through a straight paper straw. He then took a paper straw, inserted a screw into it, and then used dental floss to alter it so that it had corrugations. When he removed this screw, he was then able to bend the straw over the edge of the glass. Knowing he was onto something, he patented his new invention. In 1939, he formed the Flexible Straw Corporation and by the 1940s was producing straws for sale to the public and hospitals.
After World War II, manufacturers began shifting away from paper straws and towards plastic straws. Unfortunately, this has led to the current problem that humanity is facing. Straws and other single-use plastics pollute the globe. Billions of pounds of plastic straws wash up on the world’s coastlines, and the problem is only getting worse.
Observing National Drinking Straw Day
Anyone with a desire to observe this holiday can do so by learning more about drinking straws and how they were invented. It’s also a good day for people to learn about the destruction that plastic straws are causing to our environment. Fortunately, a person can enjoy using drinking straws without having to reach for a plastic one. There are plenty of metal, wood, and paper straws available that people can use as a replacement. So get out there, enjoy National Drinking Straw Day, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #NationalDrinkingStrawDay on your social media accounts.