FYI January 03, 2017

Marvin Chester Stone (1842 – May 17, 1899) is best known as the inventor of the modern drinking straw. He was born in Portage County, Ohio in 1842. His father, Chester Stone, was a well-known inventor of many machines, including the cheese press and washing machines. Marvin C. Stone inherited his father’s inventive genius, and made many useful articles in his boyhood. He was a graduate of Oberlin College, but his course was interrupted by the Civil War, in which he took part with credit and won promotion. [1]

After college he began a theological course, but abandoned it to go to Washington where he was employed as a newspaper correspondent for several years. Later in his life, he invented a machine for making paper cigarette holders and made a contract with the Duke Company. After that he started a factory in Ninth Street, Washington. Next he invented a machine to wind paper straws, which were popularly used for drinking cold beverages. [2]

Prior to this, people used natural rye grass straws, which were undesirable because they imparted a grassy flavor in beverages. In response to this, Marvin C. Stone made the first drinking straw prototypes by spiraling a strip of paper around a pencil and gluing it at the ends. Next he experimented with paraffin wax-coated manila paper, so that it would not get soggy when used. This first model was 8 1/2 inches long and had a diameter just wide enough to prevent things like lemon seeds from getting lodged in the tube. Marvin Stone patented his invention on January 3, 1888. By 1890, his factory was producing more drinking straws than cigarette holders. In 1906 a machine was invented by Stone’s “Stone Straw Corporation” to automatically wind the straws. [3]

His next invention was a method for color fine china in imitation of the celebrated “peachblow vase” of the Walters collection. [4]

Stone was spoken of as “the friend of the working class,” in that he looked after the moral and social condition of his working girls, and furnished a large library of standard fiction and other works, a music room, and meeting room for debates, and a dancing floor in the building. He was also well known for his philanthropy in other areas. He and several others built two blocks of tenement houses for African American residents of Washington. [5]

Marvin Chester Stone died in his home in Columbia Road, Washington, D.C., on May 17, 1899 after a long illness. He was survived by a wife and a son, the former being the daughter of the head of Platt & Co., of Baltimore.[6]


1959 – Alaska is admitted as the 49th U.S. state.


Born on this day:

1816 – Samuel C. Pomeroy, American businessman and politician (d. 1891)
Samuel C. Pomeroy was an American Republican Senator from Kansas in the mid-19th century, serving in the United States Senate during the American Civil War.[1] Pomeroy served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He also was the mayor of Atchison, Kansas, from 1858 to 1859,[1] the second president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad and the first president to oversee any of the railroad’s construction and operations. Pomeroy succeeded Cyrus K. Holliday as president of the railroad on January 13, 1864.[2]

In 1864, Pomeroy was the chair of a committee supporting Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase for the Republican nomination for President of the United States over the incumbent, Abraham Lincoln.[3] Pomeroy also spoke in support of Chase’s candidacy in the Senate.[4] The Pomeroy committee issued a confidential circular to leading Republicans in February 1864 attacking Lincoln, which had the unintended effect of galvanizing support for Lincoln and seriously damaging Chase’s prospects.[3]

On December 18, 1871, at the urging of Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden and after learning of the findings of the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871, Pomeroy introduced the Act of Dedication bill into the Senate that ultimately led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park.[5]

During the 1880 presidential election Pomeroy was John W. Phelps’ running mate on the revived Anti-Masonic Party.
Bribery charges

During the Kansas senatorial election of 1873, it was alleged that Senator Pomeroy paid $7,000 to Mr. Alexander M. York, a Kansas state senator, to secure his vote for reelection to the Senate by the Kansas State Legislature.[6] York publicly disclosed the alleged bribe was an attempt to pin a bribery charge against the senator.[7] Pomeroy ultimately lost the election to John J. Ingalls. State Senator York was also one of the brothers of Dr. William York, one of the murder victims of the Bloody Benders Family.

Pomeroy took to the Senate floor on February 10, 1873 to deny the allegations as a “conspiracy … for the purpose of accomplishing my defeat,”[6] and urged the creation of a special committee to investigate the allegations.[6] The payment of the $7,000 was never disputed by witnesses, but instead of being a bribe it was described to the committee as a payment meant to be passed along to a second individual as seed money to start a national bank.[8] The Special Committee on the Kansas Senatorial Election issued its report on March 3, 1873, which determined there was insufficient evidence to sustain the bribery charge, and instead was part of a “concerted plot” to defeat Senator Pomeroy.[8] Senator Allen G. Thurman of Ohio disagreed with the special committee’s findings, stating his belief in Pomeroy’s guilt and calling attempts to explain the payment as something other than a bribe as “so improbable, especially in view of the circumstances attending the senatorial election, that reliance cannot be placed upon them.”[8] However, Thurman chose not to pursue the matter further, as March 3 coincided with Senator Pomeroy’s last day in office.[8]







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