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This Was The Very First Stanley Product To Hit Shelves

Person pouring liquid into cup
Person pouring liquid into cup - Alex Photo Stock/Shutterstock

In 1913, just three years before he died, William Stanley Jr. invented an item that would change the world of drinkware forever — the first all-steel, insulated bottle. Stanley was born in 1858 and always seemed destined to engineer things. He was self-taught, and even quit Yale law school to pursue opportunities in the engineering field.

Less than a decade after dropping his college classes, in 1885, Stanley found himself employed by fellow inventor George Westinghouse. By 1895 he had created the Stanley Electric Manufacturing Company. Later, in 1913, Stanley used his engineering expertise to design a portable steel, double-walled, vacuumed-sealed bottle, a tried and tested new method of insulation. Insulated bottles existed before this but were mostly made with glass and were extremely fragile; Stanley had opened up a whole new world of insulation. The Stanley Insulating Company (now known as Stanley or Stanley 1913) was born in 1913 and soon after began mass-producing the inventor's new product in Massachusetts.

While simple by today's standards, Stanley's technology was a breakthrough at the time, and without it, the company may have never seen the success it sees today; according to a study reviewed by CNBC Make It, in 2023, the Stanley company made $750 million.


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The New Age Of Stanley

Stanley cups on display in store
Stanley cups on display in store - Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Stanley products were historically advertised for those who spent a lot of time outdoors, both recreationally and professionally. Sales for the company pre-2016 are near-impossible to find, but post-2016 the numbers are in every headline. Why? Because in 2016 the Stanley company changed their target consumer and introduced a design that would become an instant hit: the Quencher. The Quencher is the iconic cup people associate with Stanley today: A large, tapered cup, perfect for cup holders, adorned with a handle and a straw.

Sales were initially low for the Quencher and even led to a brief discontinuation of the product. But after a bout of leadership changes, shifts in advertising visions, and corporate partnerships, the cup exploded on social media around 2019. From TikTok videos praising the cup to full-length YouTube reviews, Stanley saw a meteoric rise in sales from 2019 to 2023. In 2024, there are more than 200 variations (and counting) of the Quencher design alone.

Today, William Stanley Jr.'s original design coexists within the Stanley company product line alongside generations of other products. From sports cups to beer pints to kid's water bottles to coffee mugs -- all of which come in a plethora of colors and designs -- the new age of Stanley is upon the world, and it doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.