A Cuppah

From the Smithsonian.com magazine (via   at BoingBoing) comes the unique history of what has been called “the Kleenex of paper cups,” The Dixie Cup. 

Their story starts with a Boston inventor named Lawrence Luellen, who crafted a two-piece cup made out of a blank of paper. He joined the American Water Supply Company, the brainchild of a Kansas-born Harvard dropout named Hugh Moore. The two began dispensing individual servings of water for a penny—one cent for a five-ounce cup from a tall, clumsy porcelain water cooler.

Dixie cups offer something at once refreshing and profoundly sobering, a pioneering product that ushered in the wave of single-use items—razors, aerosolized cans, pens, bottles of water and the paper cups you can find at doctor’s offices, backyard barbecues and, of course, the office water cooler.

Who doesn’t remember the drudgery of brushing ones teeth as a kid, only to realize that at the end of the ordeal, you got to swirl and spit from one of these entertaining cups? My collection varied between Disney panel comics and those with a joke- or riddle-a-cup (which my parents were oh-so patient to listen to).

Click the Image for the full article. Picture courtesy of Lawrence W. Luellen, 1912. Drinking Cup. Us Patent 1032557.


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