Monday, February 17, 2014

What's In A Straw?

Marvin Chester Stone: Unsung Folk Hero

Unlike the fictional Sir George who slayed the dragon or Jesse James whose fame came from being outside the law, Stone did something that very few people are aware of. He was an inventor and his most prized invention was the drinking straw.
The Ohio native was in his mid-40’s when in 1888 he developed the paper straw. It was his response to the natural rye grass straws that added a grassy flavor to beverages.  Over time his model became the platform upon which straws of various designs and colors eventually appeared in the marketplace.
No stranger to the notion of employing mechanics to bring an idea to life the former newspaperman and Civil War veteran also created the first machine to manufacture the straws that until then had been wound by hand.
Many credit his heritage with the ‘inventor’s gene’. His father Chester Stone invented the cheese press and is credited with patenting the first washing machine.
According to an obituary in The House Furnishing Review Stone was also considered by some to be a friend of the working class. He looked after the girls who worked in his factory and developed for them a library, music room, a salon for debates, and more.
To learn more about folk heroes click here.

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