IP:125.* * *
Nowadays you can find four on every corner, but back in 1971, Starbucks was just another coffee place bringing caffeine to the sleepy masses. Frappuccinos were still 24 years away, the stock market wasn't even a consideration, and no one knew what the hell a Pumpkin Spice Latte was. Obviously a lot happened in the ensuing four decades, so we thought we'd bring you up to speed on the highlights from Starbucks' nautical-themed history.
1.It was founded by two teachers and a writer.
Though the man most associated with Starbucks is chairman and CEO Howard Schultz -- who's been with the company since the '80s -- it was actually started by three dudes without an MBA between them. That'd be Gordon Bowker (a writer), Zev Siegl (a history teacher), and Jerry Baldwin (an English teacher). Wanting to bring the best coffee to Seattle, they opened the first Starbucks in 1971 in Pike Place Market. It only sold beans at first, but that would change once Schultz stepped in.
2.The name was inspired by Moby-Dick.
"Starbucks" refers to the first mate in that Herman Melville book you never quite finished in high school. Looking back, it might seem like an unusual namesake, but the original idea was much stranger. Bowker first suggested they name the place after the Moby-Dick whaling ship, the Pequod.
3.The original mermaid was way racier.
Seeing as the Starbucks logo is a siren, she's supposed to lure you into buying coffee. But the first version wasn't exactly a subtle seductress. They at least covered up her chest with flowing hair in 1987, but she didn't morph into the version we're familiar with until 1992.
4.The size names are truly meaningless.
It turns out there's no real reason why a small is tall or a large is venti.
5.NPR prank-reported a Starbucks pipeline.
In 1996, NPR's All Things Considered told listeners that Starbucks was developing atranscontinental coffee pipeline that would carry freshly roasted coffee beans across thousands of miles. Except this information came on a pretty critical date: April 1st.