About Paper Napkins
Cloth napkins have been wiping off messy lips for centuries; paper napkins, however, didn’t come along until 1887, when John Dickenson introduced them in the United States at his company’s annual dinner. This happened at about the same time that facial tissue and toilet paper was being introduced. It was, in total, a veritable paper revolution. However, paper napkins did not become truly popular in American households until the 1950’s. Now they are used to a far greater extent than cloth napkins, much to the dismay of both traditionalists and environmentalists.
Paper napkins also became popular with expense-conscious restaurateurs, and not simply for their lower initial cost; they were found to be more convenient and to eliminate the costs of, day in and day out, sending cloth napkins out to be laundered and receiving them back into inventory. Equally important, with paper napkins there is never the possibility of giving a guest a napkin with a residual stain on it or, sin of all restaurant sins, giving a diner a used napkin. The fast food restaurants that began proliferating in the 1950’s probably could not exist today without those wads of paper napkins clerks stuff by the handful in your takeout bags. (Hmmm, no more fast food without paper napkins, eh? Maybe that alone would be a good reason for banning them.)
Paper napkins come in a broad range of sizes, patterns, and quality. There are paper napkins with every kind of holiday design printed on them, colorful napkins for colorful parties, and even paper napkins that closely resemble cloth. You may order custom-designed paper napkins with the names and dates of the commemorative occasions you specify printed on them.
Paper napkin technology, ever advancing, has given us the paper napkin dispenser box and silver weights to keep the contents from catching a breeze and being blown out of their dispenser boxes – the perfect gift for the person who has everything, including a paper napkin fetish. Recent inventions include a napkin with a slightly adhesive surface that will not slip off your lap.
For home use, there’s no denying paper napkins can be a convenience – as in those times when you discover, twenty minutes before your bridge party, all your cloth napkins are in the laundry hamper, unwashed. Paper napkins can be used for any formal occasion and even some formal occasions. It’s generally okay to use them for classy wing-dings when the napkins are of such quality that they can almost pass for cloth.
Also, paper napkins with color patterns are appropriate at any holiday celebration or other festive occasions, such as cook-outs, no matter whether the occasion calls for champagne or beer.
Besides being versatile and making after dinner cleanup easier, paper napkins can – just like cloth napkins – be folded in into fancy shapes. In fact, paper napkins will hold their shape better when folded because the paper holds a crease better than the cloth; cloth napkins look better when the pattern features rounded folds rather than sharp corners. Make sure, when you’re using a paper napkin for folding, that it’s 3-ply and that you’ve got clean, dry hands before folding.