Health Cups?

dixiecupToday, paper cups seem like something that of course everyone uses. No one would ever share a cup with a stranger just to have a drink of water. The diseases that could spread this way are apparent to us all. But until the beginning of the 20th century, this was not the case. Everyone drank out of the same water source with a shared glass, drinking tin or dipper.

In 1906, a conference which brought together doctors from across the United States to discuss sanitation conditions on the railroads brought attention to the germs spread by drinking fountains and these shared drinking containers. Lawrence Luellen became interested in the idea of creating an individual drinking cup in 1907. He wanted to have the ability to dispense clean pure drinking water into clean, germ-free paper cups to help the spread of disease.

Luellen invented a water vending machine with disposable cups. With a fellow Bostonian, Hugh Moore, he began a program to educate people about the advantages of individual paper cups. Together they formed the Individual Drinking Cup Company to sell their machines and cups to railroad companies. By 1912, the company had produced a semi-automatic machine to dispense the individual cups they had named Health Cups.

dixieThere were other companies who were manufacturing paper cups but none were as successful as the Health Cup. The design of the cup made it much more stable than other cups and able to be dispensed from a vending machine. The cup was made of two pieces of paper treated with paraffin wax to stop the paper from absorbing the water. One piece of paper was wrapped to create the sides and another piece was used to create the bottom.

The name of the product was change in 1919 to distinguish the company from its competitors. The company was located next to the Dixie Doll Company. The name which Moore saw printed on the company door every day reminded him of a ten dollar bill printed by a New Orleans Bank which had the nickname dixies. Moore really like the name and decide to build on the reputation of the bank. He renamed his cup the Dixie Cup.

Today, the Dixie Cup company still manufacturers cups almost identical to the first cup designed by Lawrence Luellen along with other paper products. The company moved from New York City to Easton, Pa and is now located in Forks, Pa.