The Amazing History and the Strange Invention of the Bendy Straw
After 7,000 years of “drinking tubes” across many civilizations, two men reinvented the straw in the last 150 years. The first made it modern. The second made it bend.
Marvin Chester Stone was feeling thirsty. Winding down after a long day’s work, he sipped a mint julep at his home off 9th Street in Washington, D.C. But something was getting in his way. More particularly, something was getting in his drink. It was an unwelcome reedy residue. It was his straw.
His straw was shedding.
This was the 1880s, when gentlemen sipped their whiskey through long tubes made of natural rye that lent a grassy flavor to whatever drink they plopped in. For many centuries, it was not uncommon for a sot to order a gin and tonic and wind up drinking a gin and tonic infused with natural grass flavors. Stone didn’t have much patience when it came to non-mint plants floating around in his mint julep, and did something radical that billions of people around the world have appreciated in the 130 years since. He reinvented the straw.