Friday, October 19, 2012

Collecting Vintage Paper Drinking Straws

Boxed Paper Straws: Popular Collectibles 

Collectors of soda fountain and soda pop collectibles enjoy adding vintage paper drinking straws to their fun collections. Boxed in their original packaging with cheerful or stylish graphics, these delightful paper collectibles are affordable and a terrific addition to  soda pop and ice cream collectibles .

Popular Themes Of Paper Straw Boxes

Some collectors will be interested in a particular theme, such as Halloween and be interested in the boxed straws because of their cover graphics. A Mexicana collector might scoop up a box of straws with associated imagery. Other themes are Disney, circus, nursery rhyme etc. Yet other  collectors might want a box because of it's color or style.

Fiesta drinking straws adWhen shopping for these items, be sure the paper boxes and straws inside are intact, the graphics are clear and the items is indeed and not a reproduction. I generally pick up these collectibles for
$ 6.00-12.00.

 History Of The Paper Drinking  Straw

The invention of the paper straw is attributed to Marvin Stone who patented the process of winding paper to form a tubular straw in 1888. Marvin tinkered at first with wrapping paper around a pencil and gluing it together. Early paper straws were coated with paraffin wax to keep the paper from  melting in liquid (especially bourbon ).  Back in the day,  gentlemen sipped their whiskey through tubes made of natural rye which left a grassy taste  in their drink.

Interestingly enough, Marvin first manufactured paper cigarette holders before he moved onto his successful drinking draw. In 1906, the Stone Straw Corporation moved from hand winding straws to  machine -wind straws.

Marvin Stones' spiral wound tubing technology influenced other industries as well such as the mass production of radios in 1928 and other electronic manufacturing processes in every industry.

Next Came The Bendy Straw

In the 1930s, Joseph B. Friedman left his brother's  soda fountain parlor and went home to experiment with changing the way the paper straw worked. Friedman placed a screw in the top of the paper straw and than wrapped  dental floss around the paper creating grooves. When he removed the screw he had  developed an accordion mechanism allowing the straw to bend. In 1939 The Flex  Straw Company".

Paper Straws Sold To Hospitals

By the 1940s, Friedman had invented custom built machines and was selling his  bendable straws to hospitals to replace glass straws. The early boxes of Flex Straws had a picture of a nurse and explained the benefits of using straws in a hospital or sick room.

For more information please read:

Photo of Flex Straws from

Fiesta Drinking straws image from

Halloween straw image from

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of I Antique Online an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©. To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at Visit my website, Dianne is a member of: The American Society of Journalists and Authors The Society of Professional Journalists


  1. So interesting. Have a great weekend!

    Hugs from Idaho,
    Susan and Bentley

  2. A really cute article! Some of the box covers would look great framed and hung on a wall in a grouping - a way to preserve the box. I love to read your blog because I love kitchen stuff. Thanks!


  3. What a great article! I think that some found empty boxes like this would look great framed and hung as a grouping on the wall - a good way to preserve them from further damage. Your blog is a happy, fun place! Thanks.


  4. What a great article! I think that found empty straw boxes would look great framed and hung on a wall in a grouping - to preserve them. Your blog is a happy, fun place. Thanks!


  5. Love this post as i have a small straw collection. Great graphics on that honey moon box!

  6. Whoa! I would pay big $$ for the Fiesta straws. Love the graphics! You are a wealth of information and I really appreciate the links you include in your postings.