How does the introduction of the disposable cup in 1907 link to the coronavirus?
The first disposable paper cup was invented as a solution to the spreading of infection from communal cups at public water fountains by Boston lawyer, Lawrence Lullen, in 1907. He made the first cone shaped paper cup and called them Health Kups, which was later changed in 1912 to the Dixie cup.
He made the disposable cone cup in direct response to health scares linked to diseases and germs being spread from shared water cups or cups not being washed thoroughly.
The temperance society in America would often travel from town to town with fresh drinking water on horse drawn wagons to discourage from drinking alcohol, they used a wooden dipper as a cup and inadvertently begun to risk the health of the population by spreading germs such as TB and influenza. People soon began to realise that alcohol actually killed the germs….
After the World War I in 1918, the worldwide pandemic of Spanish Flu killed over 500 million people and the prevention of spreading germs and viruses became of national importance, as a result cementing the use of disposable cups.
Disposable lids to seal the paper cup were first invented in the 1950’s when the first coffee to go service was launched by 7-Eleven on Long Island New York. At this time the cone developed to become a paper coffee cup for hot drinks and not just water. Alen Frank filed a patent for a tearable coffee cup lid that was required for this service.
Did you know? Today America consumes roughly 110 billion disposable cups per year, with the UK using 2.5 billion!