facts about the invention
of the Dixie Cups by
Lawrence Luellen and
entrepreneur Hugh Moore
||The history of the Dixie Cup began when Lawrence Luellen first
became interested in an individual paper drinking cup in 1907. The
object was to dispense a pure drink of water in a new, clean, and
individual drinking cup. In the years leading up to the 20th century
everyone drank at the public water barrel, well, pump, or spigot with a
communal tin cup or common dipper. This sharing by both healthy and sick
alike often was the source for spreading germs and disease.
The disposable paper cup became a popular commercial
success only after the public learned that shared water glasses could
carry germs. But it took years, an abundance of business panache, and
many discarded designs–from cups that opened like paper bags to those
that came with pleats–for the inventor of the paper cup to arrive at
what we now use and toss away without so much as a thought for its
Lawrence Luellen, of Boston, Massachusetts,
developed a water-vending machine with disposable cups, and with another
Bostonian, Hugh Moore, embarked on a public-education campaign about the
health benefits of the disposable drinking cup. By 1912 the Individual
Drinking Cup Company's product was called the Health Kup and the company
had developed its first semi-automatic machine to produce them. The
breakthrough came when the devices became standard equipment on trains.
The flu epidemic after World War I put paper cups in even higher demand.
Faced with the growing number of companies entering the cup-making
business each year, Hugh Moore changed the name of his product in an
effort to set it apart from the competition. In 1919 the Health Kup
became the Dixie Cup, named for a line of dolls made by Alfred
Schindler's Dixie Doll Company in New York. Success led the company, which had existed under a variety
of names, to change its name to Dixie Cup Corporation and move to
Business expanded again when Moore and Luellen discovered that the
drinking cups were ideal for individual servings of ice cream and the
Dixie Cup took on another meaning. About this time Luellen assigned his patents to the new company allowing it to
manufacture cups. In turn, he received substantial stock in the company
and cash. Hugh Moore was secretary, treasurer, general manager and finally
president of the new company.
In 1957 American Can Company purchased the Dixie Cup Company. American
Can was acquired by the James River Corporation of Virginia, which in
1997 changed its name to Fort James Corporation. Georgia-Pacific Corporation acquired Fort James in 2000 and is now the owner of the "Dixie" brand. While most people now drink water from their own plastic bottles, the
Dixie cup remains widely in use.
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Why Didn't I Think of That?:
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ON THE WEB:
The company soon abandoned selling water, concentrated on selling paper
cups, and gave away free dispensers
Hugh Moore Dixie Cup Company Collection
A guide to the holdings of Lafayette College, compiled by Anke Voss-Hubbard. Includes
biography of Hugh Moore and information on the Dixie Cup Company and the legal fights over
There's lots to see and do at dixie fun. Play games, get craft ideas,
color, and much more. Operated by Georgia-Pacific Dixie Cup brand..
Is The Dixie Cup a horse show?
Dixie Cup Company
Georgia Pacific acquired the Dixie Cup Company with its purchase of Fort James
Company in 2000.
Faces Under The Lid
Dixie Cups were used to package ice cream from 1933 until the Fifties.
Imperfect designs, perfect products - Innovation
USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education), Dec, 2003 issue.
NASA Apollo Glossary
The nickname derives from a brand of wax-coated paper drinking cups
which, like such brands as Kleenex and Xerox, became a generic name
because of widespread popularity.
Dixie Cup Company History
In early 1908, Luellen also began work on a two-piece cup made out of a
blank of paper rolled into "frusto-conical" form with a separate bottom
piece. He began consultations with patent attorney, about the
patentability of his invention. Luellen also enlisted the assistance of
an engineer and the Taylor Machine Works at Hyde Park, who was
successful in devising a machine to manufacture such cups.
Sources in BOLD Type
page revised January, 2005.
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