Straws that exist only in artwork
August 22, 2007 1:54 PM   Subscribe

Do these diagonal-striped drinking straws actually exist in real life?

I've always been intrigued by the ubiquity of diagonally-banded drinking straws in artwork, marketing, cartoons, and even Norman Rockwell type art, but I've never in all my years actually encountered such a straw in real life.

I believe very much in visual presentation being half of the food experience, and this design's popularity in idealized artwork clearly shows it has a lot of visual appeal. Yet no matter where I go or no matter how legendary a restaurant's milk shakes are, the only kind of straws I've ever seen are clear ones, red ones, or the parallel striped supermarket ones.

Has anyone seen such an animal?
posted by chef_boyardee to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
These kinds of straws absolutely did exist -- when straws were made of paper. I've never seen a plastic straw with a corkscrew stripe.
posted by jjg at 2:04 PM on August 22, 2007

Example image.
posted by jjg at 2:06 PM on August 22, 2007

Those are the original spiral-wound straws. I've used some in Mexico and they were always made of paper - wound the same way.
posted by vacapinta at 2:07 PM on August 22, 2007

Drinking straws were initially made by spiralling paper around a cylinder. Using two colors of paper would naturally create that diagonal band. Now that all straws seem to be extruded plastic, that design seems unnecessarily complicated.
posted by team lowkey at 2:10 PM on August 22, 2007

The site is just too slow for preview today.
posted by team lowkey at 2:11 PM on August 22, 2007

We used to have them in Bosnia, and they were paper, too. I loved them, but you couldn't linger with a drink because they'd get all soft and eventually become a bit mushy and not very good for creatng suction. I swear they made chocolate milk taste better!
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 2:20 PM on August 22, 2007

I've seen plastic straws with a red stripe, but the helix is much more steep. You get maybe a quarter turn over the length of the straw.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:27 PM on August 22, 2007

We had them when I was a kid in 1970s New Zealand, and from memory they were some sort of waxed paper. I haven't seen them in years.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:16 PM on August 22, 2007

I have used one of these recently, in the last few years (made of paper). However, I have no recollection of where or why.
posted by Jimbob at 3:29 PM on August 22, 2007

Waxed paper, but they got soggy and stuck to your lips.
posted by fire&wings at 3:36 PM on August 22, 2007

In 1888, Marvin Stone patented the spiral-winding process to manufacture the first paper drinking straws.
The Aardvark paper drinking straw is a direct descendant from Stone's original company.
posted by Lanark at 3:43 PM on August 22, 2007

Pixy Stix (kind of) have the spiral pattern on a paper straw. If I remember correctly they're printed, not wound, though.
posted by anaelith at 7:05 PM on August 22, 2007

In Seattle in the 1970s we had straws like this in my elementary school cafeteria. These also were paper straws.
posted by litlnemo at 1:35 AM on August 23, 2007

I'mOldFilter: Pixi Stix used to come in spiral wound straws, a favored way of eating them was to lick one end of the straw and then unravel the paper to nibble the now-solid powder. It was a sad day when they switched to printed stripes. Not as sad as when blue Sweet-Tarts appeared, but very close, indeed.
posted by jamaro at 6:08 PM on August 23, 2007

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