Can you imagine a world without corrugated boxes? Corrugated cartons and packaging are an indispensable part of day to day life. While this is true, most people don’t know very much about them.
This is actually a shame, as the history as carboard is actually very interesting. Not convinced? Learn more about it here.
The Inception of the Modern-Day Cardboard Box
In 1817 England, Sir Malcom Thornhill awoke one morning with an innovative idea. His thought was to create cartos designed out of a single sheet of cardboard. Thus, the cardboard boxes you are familiar with today were born.
At this point, it wasn’t yet corrugated; however, that didn’t make it any less popular in the coming years. In approximately 1840, manufacturers of silk began to use cardboard boxes for the transport of eggs and moths from Japan, all the way to Europe. During the 1950s, the concept of the cardboard box finally went mainstream. This occurred when the Kellogg Company began using the design for their popular cereals.
The Creation of Corrugated Paper
Edward E. Allen and Edward C. Healy, both Englishmen patented the concept of corrugated paper in the year 1856. However, at this point, it was only used as a hat lining. A New Yorker, Albert L. Jones then patented single-sided corrugated board in 1871. This is when the packaging industry began to use it for wrapping glass lanterns and bottles.
A Fortunate Accident
The next big impact for corrugated packaging occurred in 1890. It was at this time that Robert Gair invented the precut box on accident. This occurred when he was printing paper and had a metal ruler, he was using to crease his bags. All of the sudden, things shifted, and he cut the paperboard he had created in a single motion.
By 1895 he applied this accidental discovery to corrugated cardboard. This is when the very first corrugated cardboard box was introduced to the world. The world was extremely welcoming to the invention of Gair’s corrugated boxes. It didn’t take very long until the commonplace wooden creates and boxes were replaced. Instead, shippers turned to the corrugated cardboard creation.
Thinking Beyond the (Corrugated) Cardboard Box
A fun fact that many people aren’t aware of (even some in the corrugated packaging industry) is that in 2004, Peter Melbourne, an architect from the U.S. took the concept of the cardboard box to an all new level. He opted to design and build an entire house made from the corrugated cardboard boxes that were now considered mainstream. What was even better was that you could actually live in it.
The History of the Modern Corrugated Packaging
Now, you know the history of today’s popular corrugated cartons and packaging that’s being used by all industries and for a wide array of purposes. There’s no question this packaging offers a wide array of benefits, but what may be surprising to some is that it’s only a few hundred years old.