Common Cup Countdown–October 28, 2012

Samuel J. Crumbine Award

October 28, 2012:  Common Cup Countdown-2 days to the 100th anniversary of 1st U.S. drinking water regulation-an unexpected visitor.

“His efforts to destroy the common cup, in the first state to do so, received a huge boost nationally when he was visited one day by a native Kansan. Hugh Moore, living in Boston, had been working on an idea with his brother-in-law, Lawrence Luellen. He came to the doctor’s office with a primitive, cone-shaped pleated paper cup they were developing. After suggestions and improvements he returned much later to show him a machine-made one and thus was born what became known as the penny cup. Moore and Luellen began on a small scale, with their machines selling a drink of cool spring water at trolley car corners. In 1909, the year the Kansas board of health outlawed the common cup, they organized the Public Cup Vendor company to sell their machines and cups to railroads. The next year they reorganized into the Individual Drinking Cup Company in New York City, becoming the first to sell a [cup] rolled into a cone shape that they perfected and produced with a machine developed with the help of an engineer, Eugene H. Taylor. In 1909 Lafayette College biology professor Alvin Davison, studied the problem of the common drinking cups in the Easton, Pennsylvania, public schools and published ‘Death in School Drinking Cups’ in Technical World Magazine. The Massachusetts board of health redistributed this gruesome article in November of that year and it boosted the national campaign tremendously to outlaw the common cup in schools and elsewhere in public.”

Reference: Lee, R. Alton. From Snake Oil to Medicine:  Pioneering Public Health. Westport, CT:Praeger, 2007, p. 77.

About safedrinkingwaterdotcom

McGuire is an environmental engineer and writer. He has worked in the drinking water community for over 50 yrs
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