The Evolution of the Red Solo Cup – Squarishly Round?
18 Dec 2014
At a holiday party recently I was handed a Red Solo cup and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I did a double take because my traditional round red Solo cup was just not round at all. I am not even sure how to describe this shocking transformation. Looking down into my cup almost looked like the two sides of a butterfly – kinda square but with a double curve. I struggled to get my mind around the shape of this newly discovered red Solo cup. I knew it had to be round – I mean it’s a red Solo cup, of course it is round! Upon further inspection (ok and one drink downed), I found it! Hidden at the bottom of my empty cup was the shape of a square, granted it did have rounded edges, but still a square nonetheless. To my further amazement, the inner walls of the cup were not even smooth. Each side of this bottom-dwelling square had rectangles vertically coming up the sides of the cup. Again even the rectangles didn’t even have sharp corners – they too were rounded! Now I was even more curious – why go through the trouble of making all these geometrical patterns inside my cup? I can’t figure out the square on the bottom but maybe it provides some further stability to the cup. Having majored in mechanical engineering in college (at MIT!), I should be able to figure this out. Getting frustrated with this puzzle, I decided to review the vertical rectangles going up the sides of the cup. Ok now this actually made sense – as I gripped the outside of my cup I understood that the small dimples on the outside of the cup were simply to do exactly that – ensure a firmer grip. The long vertical rectangles (or breadsticks) were indented as viewed from the outside to add to the firm grip (and maybe create a spot to write the word “Solo”). I felt so much better knowing that I had figured out the mystery of the new red Solo cup’s shape.
I felt even more happy knowing that Solo cares so much about my wellbeing – taking great care to make sure I avoided embarrassing party fouls of a spilled drink, by giving me a solid grip on it’s cups! Although I was beaming with joy at this revelation, at the same time I felt a tinge of sadness at the realization that the iconic round red Solo cup may be no more. The symbol of the good times of my youth had been replaced by a much more sophisticated, technically advanced squarishly round red Solo cup. I guess I am ok with that – a new generation of party-goers will have this 2014 red Solo cup as their symbol.