A Brief History of the Bendy Straw

Kirstin Fawcett
iStock / iStock

Drinking straws were stiff and straight until Joseph B. Friedman came along and shoved a screw into one, thus effectively inventing the bendy straw. In the 1930s, the San Francisco inventor was sitting at a soda parlor counter with his daughter, Judith, when he noticed that her mouth couldn't reach the paper straw poking from her milkshake. In a moment of resourcefulness, Friedman took the metal fastener and used a piece of dental floss to crush the paper between its spiral grooves. These corrugations made the straw flexible, so it bent over the side of the glass and toward Judith's mouth.

Learn more about the bendy straw, and how it became a common household utensil, by watching TED-Ed’s video below.

[h/t TED-Ed]