When you come into HubBub, of course we always encourage you to sit and stay awhile. A perfectly crafted hot beverage is as good an excuse as any to stop for a minute, get your bearings, relax and breathe. But we totally get it - sometimes you've gotta grab and go. And while a to-go cup of coffee might be an object that we briefly tote around, chug from, and ultimately toss, let's stop for a sec and consider its significance.
All the things we use in life were actually designed by someone somewhere, which is a little mind boggling if you really think about it. While the use of paper cups have been traced back to Imperial China in the 2nd century B.C. (!?!?!?!??!?!), the modern paper cup was invented and popularized in the early 1900's, via the rise of the Dixie Cup, which was developed by a lawyer in Boston named Lawrence Luellen. Paper cups were initially used wherever there were communal drinking fountains - mostly on trains, in schools, and in hospitals. Before paper cups, it was not uncommon to have shared glasses at these water sources! Can you imagine? Anyway, as time and technology progressed, paper cups were able to be made sturdier, cheaper, and waterproof.
While people in the US would sometimes get coffee to go from diners or delis throughout the mid-20th century, this practice really took off in the 1970's. Older fashioned to-go lids didn't have a readymade hole in them, and you'd have to tear a piece out of the plastic to get to your drink, resulting in many a burned finger and stained shirt. William and Kenneth Dart of the Dart Container Company get the credit for inventing a flat plastic lid with a press down tab (which you often still see on deli coffee) in 1981. But it was Jack Clements who took it to the next level, creating a domed lid with a drinking hole already cut out: The Solo Traveler. This fine design specimen allows for a more comfortable drinking experience. The Solo Traveler's success was instant, and it made such an impression on the American product consciousness that it's even recognized as a "Design Object" by MOMA.
Here at HubBub, we stock International Paper Dome Lids, which withstand the heat and moisture from hot drinks, snap nicely onto our paper cups, and have tiny holes punched out that allow airflow into the cup to help prevent spilling. And they're totally recyclable. That's a lot of design packed into a small, single-use item, right?
(Hey, and don't forget about the HubBub Kleen Kanteens: beautiful stainless steel bottles emblazoned with our cheery logo, which are the ultimate to-go vessel. More info here.)
When you think of all the people whose design and creativity went into that little paper cup in your hand, it's pretty amazing. Say a little thank you to them as your coffee comes along with you on your morning adventures.