Legend has it that Marvin Stone was drinking a mint julep on a hot summer day in 1880 when the straw, made of rye grass, started to disintegrate. An entrepreneur who had some success with his invention of a paper cigarette holder, Stone wrapped strips of paper around a pencil, glued them together, and soon had an early prototype of paper drinking straws.
"He patented his design in 1888, and by 1890, his factory Stone Industrial . . . was mass producing them,” explains an article, “A Brief History of How Plastic Straws Took over the World,” published in National Geographic.
Next: Yankee ingenuity produces the bendy straw.