1937: Joseph Friedman invents the bendable straw so his daughter can more easily drink a milkshake
Whose idea: Joseph Friedman
The inspiration: Friedman was sitting at his brother’s soda shop, watching his daughter drink a milkshake. The young girl was struggling to enjoy her beverage through a straight paper straw, whose end she could barely reach. Her father, an inventor, thought of a way to help her out.
What came of it: Friedman inserted a screw into the straw and wrapped floss around it to create a ribbed texture. When he took the screw out, the straw naturally bent over the rim of the glass and his daughter was able to drink her milkshake with ease. He patented his idea in 1937 and started his own company to produce the straw. The rights to the flexible straw were eventually sold to the Maryland Cup Corporation, which now sells about 500 million of them every year.