Happy Birthday, Modern Drinking Straw!

It’s the small stuff that gets people talking. One hundred seventeen years ago today, Marvin C. Stone patented the first wax drinking straw and the spiral winding tube-making process. Prior to that, people did sip and slurp, but through rye grass straws. Stone’s straws were made of paper and coated with wax so as not to get too soggy and quickly proved quite popular.

Perhaps the greatest literary meditation on innovation and enterprise that, coincidentially, has to do with the drinking straw, is this delightful footnote found early on in Nicholson Baker’s debut novel, The Mezzanine. (Flip to pages four and five in Amazon’s look inside the book to read it.)

If you can observe the world this astutely and this precisely, I guarantee that you’ll be successful in finding a great opportunity for yourself in 2005.