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When Was the Straw Invented?

Drinking straws are believed to have been in use for at least 5,000 years and probably existed before that. The oldest known drinking straw was found in a Sumerian tomb dated to 3000 B.C. Modern drinking straws weren't invented until 1888 A.D. Before then, straws usually were made either of actual grass straw or of glass tubes, neither of which was particularly convenient for drinking. The first modern drinking straws were made of paper rolled into tubes and then glued together and coated with wax.

More facts about drinking straws:

  • The type of drinking straw that bends over at the top and is widely used today was invented in 1937. The inventor reportedly saw his daughter having a hard time drinking a milkshake out of a tall cup with a straight straw. To solve this, he inserted a screw into the straw and then wrapped dental floss around the straw to imprint the screw's grooves on the straw, which enabled it to bend. The bendy straws were first adopted in hospitals, because they were easier for bedridden patients to use, and later became widely used around the world.

  • More than 500 million disposable straws are used every day in the United States.

  • Straws can be made out of bamboo, bioplastic, stainless steel and even cereal. Alternative drinking straws have become increasingly popular as environmentally friendly options.

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More Info: http://invention.smithsonian.org

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