Sweetheart Cup Company

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The world's largest "paper" cup in front of what was once the Lily-Tulip manufacturing company, later Sweetheart Cup Company.[1] Actually made of poured concrete, the cup stands about 68.1 feet (20.8 m) tall.

Sweetheart Cup Company was a North America company that made paper cups, plastic cups and related products. In 2004, Sweetheart was acquired by the Solo Cup Company.


1911: Predecessor to Maryland Cup founded in Boston by Joseph Shapiro and his three brothers. Company sells ice cream, then expands to bake ice cream cones. Headquarters moves to Baltimore.

1932–1936: Company diversifies, making matches and straws. Sweetheart, the name used on products, is inspired by picture of two children using straws to drink a milkshake from the same glass.

1947: Company executives vote, 14-to-1, against entering the cup business. But Joseph Shapiro votes yes - and the cup business is born.

1961: Maryland Cup goes public, consolidating 32 companies controlled by Shapiro family members.

1968: Joseph Shapiro dies.

1983: Maryland Cup bought by Fort Howard Paper Company, a Wisconsin-based paper manufacturer. At the time, Maryland Cup has 33 plants, more than 10,000 employees and a net worth of $250 million.

1983–1985: Fort Howard boosts capital spending in cup business, while cutting costs through layoffs.

1986: Customer service deteriorates and cup sales start to slide. Fort Howard acquires Lily-Tulip, cup-maker with net worth of $108 million.

1988: Fort Howard itself acquired in leveraged buyout by Morgan Stanley for $3.9 billion.

1989: Fort Howard spins off cup business as Sweetheart Holdings. Business has 15 U.S. factories and more than 8,000 employees.

1991: Sweetheart turns a profit on operations, but saddled by debt, net worth falls to −$95 million.[2]


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