The Paper Cup


Hugh Moore invented the Dixie cup in 1908. They were originally called health cups and replaced metal cups that had been used with water fountains. His paper cup factory was located just next door to the Dixie Doll Company, and since he saw the word 'Dixie' every day, he found that it was a fantastic name. The word reminded him of ten-dollar bank notes from a bank in New Orleans. These had the French word 'dix' printed on the bill, and they were popular in the 1800's. So, after getting permission from the neighboring company, he re-named his cups 'Dixie Cups.' From: Bellis, Mary. "The History of Paper and Papermaking." 2004. About inc.. 02 Mar 2004. .

Paper cups themselves aren't really very complex. Most paper cups are made of the raw material, wood. Although this is a renewable resource, using wood has made a visible impact on landscape, and not for the better. Open spaces provide an easy place for streams to flood land that was once forest. They are also made of bleached pulp, and bark and wood waste is used in the process of papermaking. The average amount of wood used in the process (per cup) is 26 grams, and an average 2 grams from natural gas or residual fuel oil also used in the process. Most cups weigh about 10.1 grams! In comparison to foam cups, paper cups use 10 times as much steam, about 17 times as much electricity, and twice as much cooling water. There is also a lot of wastewater involved for making paper cups. They can also be expensive. It is harder to recycle these cups because of the solution used to bind them. From: Hocking, Martin B. "Is paper better than plastic?." Consumers' research magazine October 1991: 28-30.

Paper cups did not, however, begin only with Hugh Moore. They began also when "Lawrence Luellen became interested in an individual drinking cup in 1907, through a lawyer named Austin M. Pinkham, with whom he shared the same business..." in Boston. The company was interested in making dispensers (Picture #3 above: a Dixie Cup) for water machines that contained paper cups. Luellen saw some flaws in the machine, like that fact that the cups would have to be unfolded once they came out. He thought that they should be in full form. He soon decided that a one-piece paper cup would be most useful. Luellen also came up with the "Luellen Cup & Water Vendor' in early 1908. This was the same year the Hugh Moore opened up the Dixie Cup Company. From: "Dixie Cup Company History." August 1995. Lafayette College Libraries. 02 Mar 2004. .

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