Wm. Stanley’s bottle far from humble start

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2024

By Bonnie Brown

So, do you have your own Stanley tumbler with lid and straw?  In case you didn’t know it, Stanley tumblers have been around since 1913 and are experiencing a boom in business featuring their new “Quencher” tumbler.  William Stanley Jr. forever changed the way hot drinks were consumed when he infused vacuum insulation and the strength of steel in one portable bottle.  It was known as the “thermos bottle.”  

Mostly men used the Stanley thermos bottle to carry hot coffee to work or perhaps ice water.  My father-in-law, T. J. Brown, was the Plant Manager at Seale-Lily Ice Cream in Jackson, Mississippi for more than 40 years.  His degree from Mississippi State was in Dairy Manufacturing.  He used his skill and knowledge to make ice cream.  The best ice cream many would say.  In his thermos was milk. He loved milk!  In fact, he would pour milk over his ice cream.  Now that’s a dedication to his art and his career, and best use of his degree.  

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My father drove a concrete truck and would take a thermos of coffee with him when he left early in the morning for work.  If often rolled around on the floor of his car or truck and held up to rough handling.  I can tell you that he would NEVER have paid for a bottle of water or pay the handsome price of $35+ for a “thermos.”  Nor would he have paid to put air in a tire at a service station.  I’m certain that he would not understand the appeal of this new style of the Stanley “thermos bottle.”  The thermos was a utility used mostly by the “working man” who likely carried his lunch to work each day.   

In the 1980’s Perrier launched its bottled water brand in the United States.  It became a symbol of sophistication.  And from there came Coca-Cola (with its Dasani brand) and PepsiCo (with Aquafina).  It was fashionable to drink bottled water.  

In May 2020, Terence Reilly, Global President of Stanley, joined the Stanley Company after 5 years as Chief Marketing Officer for Crocs.  Reilly told Shop TODAY via email, “Our 40-ounce Quencher is an internet phenomenon!” And it seems to be.

It seems that the appeal of this tumbler is that it holds 40 ounces of hot or cold drinks.  It fits in your car’s cup holder.  And it has a handle.  Plus, it comes in a large variety of colors, and you can even add letter charm accessories.  It is definitely a fashion statement as well as useful.  Some people claim to have one at home and one at their workplace.  

I wonder if it would hold up to rolling around on the floor of a concrete truck?  Or on occasion, rolling out of the truck to land in gravel or whatever.  Perhaps.  Would my father have bought one for himself?  Never.  And yet there are youngsters who once asked for dolls and are now asking for Stanley tumblers instead.  Well, at least they are well hydrated.   

I must admit that we use bottled water, and we have an assortment of tumblers which were mostly obtained as “giveaways.”   We use them occasionally, but I can honestly tell you that they are not decked out or glammed up with letter charms jewelry.  Would I pay as much as $35 or $50 for a Stanley tumbler?  Probably not.  I am, after all, my father’s daughter.