Nearly 2,000 different Dixie cups—from every decade of the 20th Century—are included in the collection of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Saveur’s “Fare” section provides a fascinating (if tantalizingly brief and print-edition only, sorry) overview of the archive’s contents, which range from the Spartan (a pure white number from the early ’20s) to the patriotic (a 1941 edition sporting an American fighter plane) to the practical (a cup sporting Constructivist gears and the slogan: “Use Your Brains, a Machine Doesn’t Have Any.”)
The piece also gets into the obscure origins of the cup: It was inspired by a fear of the “tin dipper,” the communal cup chained to water fountains in schools, train stations and railway cars. The company’s first big break? The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, which spurred demand for its Health Kup.