Coffee Cup Lid

Description
This is a peel and lock type coffee cup lid. Peel and lock type lids give the drinker a place to snap the peeled back lid part into itself, preventing the need to tear off or throw away a little triangle of plastic.
Architects and collectors Louise Harpman and Scott Specht donated 56 plastic cup lids to the National Museum of American History in 2012. Their donation is a sample from their much larger collection of “independently patented drink-through plastic cup lids,” which they began in 1984 and discussed in a 2005 essay, “Inventory / Peel, Pucker, Pinch, Puncture,” in Cabinet Magazine: http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/19/harpman.php. The collectors’ categorization scheme reflects the primary way the lid design functions, which helps differentiate between the varieties and styles of lids.
Plastic, disposable coffee cup lids and other single-use food packages reinforce the social acceptability of eating and drinking on the go in the United States and reflect increasing expectation for convenience products. Cup lids are also examples of how humble, and even disposable, objects are sometimes the result of meticulous engineering. Patents for lid innovations describe peel-back tabs and the pucker-type shapes that make room for mouths and noses, and describe the nuances of “heat retention,” “mouth comfort,” “splash reduction,” “friction fit,” and “one-handed activation.”
Object Name
lid
Physical Description
beige (overall color)
plastic (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 3/4 in x 3 3/8 in; 1.905 cm x 8.54075 cm
ID Number
2012.3047.48
catalog number
2012.3047.48
accession number
2012.3047
subject
Food
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
See more items in
Work and Industry: Food Technology
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Exhibition
Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Louise Harpman and Scott Specht

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