This Day in History – Jan 3, 1888 and 1871 – Drinking straws patented and a process to make margarine – Who knew!



On this day in 1888 Marvin C Stone patented the drinking straw!! Stone, the son of Chester Stone, was born in Portage County, Ohio in 1842. Chester was well-known for his inventions of many machines including the cheese press and washing machines With Marvin the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. He started inventing things at an early age.

.Prior to his invention of the drinking straw according to Wikipedia….

…. people used natural rye grass straws, which were undesirable because they imparted a grassy flavor in beverages. In response to this, Marvin C. Stone made the first drinking strawprototypes by spiraling a strip of paper around a pencil and gluing it at the ends. Next he experimented with paraffin wax-coated manila paper, so that it would not get soggy when used. This first model was 8 1/2 inches long and had a diameter just wide enough to prevent things like lemon seeds from getting lodged in the tube. Marvin Stone patented his invention on January 3rd, 1888. By 1890, his factory was producing more drinking straws than cigarette holders. In 1906 a machine was invented by Stone’s “Stone Straw Corporation” to automatically wind the straws. Read more

Several years earlier in 1871, on this date,  Henry W. Bradley of of Binghamton, NY, United States patented a process for creating margarine that combined vegetable oils (primarily cottonseed oil) with animal fats. The original production of margarine began with Napoleon!! From Wikipedia…..

Emperor Napoleon III of France offered a prize to anyone who could make a satisfactory alternative for butter, suitable for use by the armed forces and the lower classes.[7] French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès invented a substance he called oleomargarine, the name of which became shortened to the trade name “margarine”. Mège-Mouriès patented the concept in 1869 and expanded his initial manufacturing operation from France but had little commercial success. In 1871, he sold the patent to the Dutch company Jurgens, now part of Unilever.[8] In the same year the German pharmacist Benedict Klein from Cologne founded the first margarine factory “Benedict Klein Margarinewerke”, producing the brands Overstolz and Botteram.[9]

The principal raw material in the original formulation of margarine was beef fat. and then Bradley stepped in….

Shortages in beef fat supply combined with advances by Boyce and Sabatier in the hydrogenation of plant materials soon accelerated the use of Bradley’s method, and between 1900 and 1920 commercial oleomargarine was produced from a combination of animal fats and hardened and unhardened vegetable oils.[12] The depression of the 1930s, followed by the rationing of World War II, led to a reduction in supply of animal fat; and, by 1945, “original” margarine almost completely disappeared from the market.[12] In the US, problems with supply, coupled with changes in legislation, caused manufacturers to switch almost completely to vegetable oils and fats (oleomargarine) by 1950 and the industry was ready for an era of product development.[12]

and like they say the rest is history…… So Thank You, Misters Stone and Bradley!!