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The Straw

The straw, or a more precise term – the drinking straw has quite an interesting history. The first straws were made for the very purpose of drinking beer, something we hardly see these days anymore. Sumerians were the first to produce straws which they used to consume beer to avoid the solid byproducts of fermentation.

The modern straw that we see today was made possible thanks to Marvin Stone. A producer of paper cigarette holders, he had an idea to make paper drinking straws. His prototype straw was made by winding strips of paper around a pencil and gluing them together. Next, he experimented with paraffin-coated manila paper to prevent the straw from getting soggy while being used.

Stone thought that the ideal straw should be 21.6 cm in length with a diameter just wide enough to prevent things like lemon seeds from getting stuck in the tube. Finally, in 1888, Stone patented the spiral winding process to manufacture the first paper drinking straws and that put an end to beverage drinkers using natural rye grass straws.

These days, straws are made using plastic but in view of sustainability issues, perhaps it may be wise to go back to basics and use paper straws instead?