Coffee Cup Lid, Dixie 9540


This is a Dixie brand peel type coffee cup lid. Peel type lids require the drinker to peel back a piece of the lid to create a wedge-shaped opening, revealing the top edge of the cup. Dixie 9540, round beige plastic disc with raised rim. There is a raised logo and company name, with “Petal X” design large and central, holds the letters related to coffee options: “B,” “C,” “S,” and “SC” (for Black, Cream, Sugar, and Sugar and Cream). The Dixie “Petal X” logo was created in 1969 by graphic designer Saul Bass.

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: 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.”

See more items in: Work and Industry: Food Technology, Food, FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000

Exhibition: Food: Transforming the American Table

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: Gift of Louise Harpman and Scott Specht

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2012.3047.02Catalog Number: 2012.3047.02Nonaccession Number: 2012.3047

Object Name: lid

Physical Description: plastic (overall material)beige (overall color)Measurements: overall: 3/8 in x 3 3/8 in; .9525 cm x 8.5725 cm


Record Id: nmah_1419880

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