Did You Know: The Lines On A Solo Cup Are Measurement Marks (Update: Official Verdict: Coincidence)

Jun 5, 2012

This caught us by surprise. The venerable Solo cup, a wily veteran of countless BBQ's, graduation parties, receptions, camping trips, and many summer beverages has a trick up its sleeve: built in measurement marks.

It sounds almost too true, too clever, to be believable right? I thought so as well. A quick survey of the studios produced the same reaction. No one had ever heard of it or knew it.

This bit of knowledge was discovered on a link from the ever helpful Reddit TIL community. Never one to be caught by the old axiom of "It's true; I read it on the Internet", a test was proposed.

Using a measured pint glass, helpfully marked with measurements from 1oz. - 8oz., water was carefully measured out then poured into the Solo cup. Happily, this is an internet fact that can be confirmed. The lines do correspond to some typical beverage servings: 12oz., 5oz., and 1oz.

Never again will you be stuck at another backyard party or in the woods camping without a way to handily measure out a liquid. A nice uncommon and useful piece of knowledge that will serve you well this summer. Just as handy? Knowing how to build a campfire.

Do you have some uncommon knowledge or other Summer Science questions? Leave them in the comments below.

Update 06/11/2012 - That part where I mentioned that it sounds almost too true, too clever, to be believable? Turns out it is. I contacted Solo on June 8th seeking comment and received a response today. Here's Angie Chaplin Gorman, Director of Communications of the Solo Cup Company:

"Thanks for contacting us. We enjoyed your story. Although the lines do align pretty closely with some common liquid measures, in fact, these lines were not intended for measuring anything. This has become part of the folklore around the cup and is – as you say – a happy coincidence."

There you have it straight from the source. A happy coincidence. It still ranks as a very useful bit of trivia, but isn't the intended industrial design of the Solo cup. This is now one of those great urban myths we can all entertain ourselves with at backyard parties everywhere this summer.

Update 06/15/2012 - Solo Cup posted an updated graphic on their Facebook page on Wednesday with suggested 'other' measurements for the ubiquitous red cup. My favorite? Cereal and chocolate milk syrup measurements. My suggestion is to combine them and have chocolate milk on your cereal in one tidy container.