History of the Paper Cup


The exact origins of the paper cup seem to be unknown. Who first thought of making a disposable beverage holder out of paper may never be known. What is known is that around the beginning of the 1900's, paper cups gained popularity when people began to realize that sharing the same tin or ladle, out of water barrels also meant sharing germs.

In 1907, a man named Lawrence Luellen developed what later became known as the Dixie Cup to help improve public hygiene. He worked for the American Water Supply Company, who's founder was Hugh Moore, he developed a water-vending machine with disposable cups and began to educate the public on the harms of sharing drinking glasses. The company changed its name to Individual Drinking Cup Company of New York. The paper cups were called "Health Kup" but later with the permission of the Dixie Doll Company they were renamed Dixie Cups. During the great American flu epidemic of 1918 paper cups rapidly grew in popularity as a way of avoiding infection.


In the century since, the paper cup has evolved from simply a health solution to an everyday convenience object. Each day, millions of paper cups are used so that people can take their sodas, coffees and other beverages on the run. They are also used at social gatherings for ease of clean up when the gathering ends. Instead of having a multitude of glasses and mugs to clean at the end of an event, paper cups can simply be gathered up and recycled. Wikipedia Entry

Types of Paper Cups

Cold Cups are made to handle cold beverages only. They often have a waxy coating inside to keep the paper from becoming wet and collapsing from the absorption of liquid. Cold paper cups also come in several sizes and designs. Paper cups come in sizes from the tiny Dixie Cups to large 20 or 24 ounce big cups found at convenience stores for soda. They also come in a variety of designs, including those for children's themed birthday parties, those bearing restaurant or store logos, and everyday designs such as flowers. The variety of designs on paper cups is endless.

Hot cups are paper cups designed to hold hot beverages such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. They are specially made to withstand the heat that cold cups cannot. Hot cups can be insulated to help keep beverages warm. Like cold cups, they come in a variety of sizes and designs. A recent development for hot cups has been the hot paper cup sleeve. This sleeve is slid onto the cup to help prevent fingers from getting burned by the heat of the beverage.

History of Paper Cups

1910 Individual Drinking Cup Company of New York was incorporated formed by Hugh Moore
1919 The Health Kup was renamed Dixie Cup

1930’s The Gee Manufacturing Company which was known as Geemanco started manufacturing paper cups

1936 Leo J. Hulseman established the Paper Container Manufacturing Company in Chicago (Later to become Solo)

1940 Paper Container Manufacturing Company began manufacturing a paper cone cup known as the Solo Cup, for which the company was renamed.

1950s, Solo introduced a two-piece wax-lined cold cup used for serving cold

1955 Geemanco taken over by E.S. and A. Robinson (Holdings) Ltd

1957 Robinsons set up new company Lily Cups and Containers (England) Ltd

Lily cups enter into licence agreement with Lily-Tulip Cup Corporation of America

1972 Lily Cups and Containers (England) Ltd changes name to DRG Cups Ltd ( DRG is Dickenson Robinson Group)

Late 1970's Polarcup of Finland (Huhtamaki) established a wholesale operation in Uk with Key Catering Disposables acting as warehouse and distributor.

1980 Benders enters Cup production (Benders were a major manufacturer of paper table ware)

1983 Dickenson Robinson Group of Bristol decides to close all production at DRG Cups Liverpool, as cost base was too high to maintain competitive position. Paper cup machines (PMC) were sold to Polarcup Finland

1983 to protect General Foods account, with UK production, Polarcup established a factory at Devizes, Wiltshire, using some of the PMC machines purchased from DRG. The agreement with Keycatering was ended.

1981 Seda starts UK production of paper cups

1984 DRG machines purchased by Polarcup a Finnish company (Huhtamaki) UK production set up at Devizes, Wiltshire, England

1995 Cross paper Ware sold to Duni, and ceases production of paper cups

1992 Polarcup purchased Sweetheart Europe, and merged both operations into Sweethearts factory at Gosport Hampshire

2001 Solo purchases Insulpak and sets up UK manufacture of Solo paper cups on the Insulpak site at Huntingdon

2004 Solo Purchase Sweetheart (USA)

2006 Wax paper cups discontinued in the UK and replaced with PE Coated cups

2008 Polarcup changes name to Huhtamaki

2011 Solo closes plant at Springfield

2012 Solo is bought by Dart Containers

Contact us for further information on: mark.woodward@thepapercupcompany.co.uk