Stone, a manufacturer of paper cigarette holders, created drinking straws in
1888, according to Steven Caney's "Invention Book". Stone, who had a factory in
Washington, D.C., enjoyed visiting a tavern after work for his usual drink, a
chilled mint julep.
mint juleps lose their flavor when warmed, people drank them through natural
grass straws so they wouldn't have to touch the glass. Unfortunately, the
natural straws - often cut from rye - tended to make the drink taste like
saw a connection between the process for making his cigarette holders and
making a paper-wound, artifical drinking straw. Spurred on by the prospect of a
better - tasting mint julep, he started winding long strips of paper around a
pencil and fastening the loose end with a dab of glue. Soon other patrons
wanted to try his paper tube straws for their mint juleps.
that people would enjoy drinking lemonade through a straw, too, Stone designed
an 8 1/2-inch paper straw with a diameter just wide enough to prevent a lemon
seed from lodging in the tube. He used a paraffin - coated manila paper so the
straw wouldn't become soggy when put into liquids.
patented his straw, and by 1890 most of the employees at the Stone Cigarette
Holder Factory were winding artificial straws.
1906, eight years after Stone's death, the first machine - made drinking straws
were manufactured with a steam - powered engine.
From Richard A. Norris /
Buffalo News / buffalo Magazine / Oct. 13, 1985..