World’s Strangest

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Teen Life in 1947 Iowa

Photo: George Skadding/LIFE Archives Ah, the life of a teenager. Long before the era of Facebook, texting, and clubbing, there’s the hopping soda shop scene. LIFE photographer George Skadding documented the lives of Iowa [...]

How the Flexible Straw Was Invented

The drinking straw was invented by 3000 B.C., as attested by Sumerian artifacts. Until very recently, these straws were tubes from plant stems, such as rye. Besides dissolving in water, these straws often added unwelcome plant flavors to drinks. In 1888, Marvin Chester Stone patented a waxed paper straw that didn’t add a grassy flavor [...]