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Coffee Cup Lid, Solo Traveler

Coffee Cup Lid, Solo Traveler

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Description
This is a Solo Traveler TL 316 pucker type coffee cup lid. Pucker type lids require the drinker to place his or her mouth over a protrusion with a hole in it. With these lids, the drinker does not drink directly from the cup—mouths do not make contact with the rim of the cup. Instead, one drinks from only the lid. The lid's design is covered by patent number 4,589,569 assigned to the Solo Cup Company on May 20th, 1986. The invention of this lid is the recess that accommodates the upper lip.
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
plastic (overall material)
white (overall color)
Measurements
overall: 5/8 in x 3 5/8 in; 1.5875 cm x 9.2075 cm
ID Number
2012.3047.23
catalog number
2012.3047.23
nonaccession number
2012.3047
Credit Line
Gift of Louise Harpman and Scott Specht
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
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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