The Origins Of The Humble Cardboard Box

November 11, 2019 12:50 pm Published by

Every story has to start somewhere and whilst we take them for granted, seeing them every day in shops and emerging from delivery vehicles there was a time when the humble cardboard box was something of a novelty.

Often credited with being developed in England in the early 1800s the first commercial paperboard cardboard box was similarly credited with being a German invention. Whilst the debate as to who actually thought of the idea first still seems clouded in uncertainty, the history and development of cardboard as a shipping material is certainly a rich one.

Bosworth Wright has been manufacturing cardboard boxes for commercial use since the 1920’s, so our history is, dare we say it, nearly as old as that of the boxes we make! With that said let’s take a brief tour into the origins of one of the most popular shipping materials to date.

The cardboard box was developed in 1817

As mentioned before the original paperboard box was developed in the early 1800s. The first box is sometimes credited to the firm M. Treverton & Son, although this is up for debate. Unlike its modern-day packaging counterpart, this box was not corrugated but a single layer of paper board. 

Pre-cut cardboard packaging was developed by accident

In 1879 a pressman at Robert Gair’s paper bag factory in NYC accidentally sliced through thousands of seed bags when the ruler, designed to crease the bags, shifted during operation.

The resultant ruined bags, as it turned out, were a happy accident. Gair noticed that cutting and creasing paperboard at the same time could be the perfect way to mass-produce the ideal cardboard packaging solution and by 1890 he was supplying companies like Kellogg’s with pre-fabricated cardboard packaging.

Corrugated cardboard was a bi-product of the fashion industry

In 1856 you would have found corrugated paper in use, but not in packaging. It was originally used as a liner in hats in order to help them keep their shape. By 1871 it had been recognised as a sturdy enough material to be used in packaging, and the modern-day corrugated cardboard box was born. By the late 1890s, corrugated cardboard had started to replace wooden shipping containers for the transportation of goods.

From its basic beginnings, cardboard has become the staple packaging for both consumer and wholesale goods, the world over. 

If your company is looking for a reliable and experienced cardboard packaging manufacturer, supplying made to order boxes in a variety of sizes then contact Bosworth Wright today!

We have been making and supplying cardboard packaging solutions for generations and with no minimum order, you’re bound to receive excellent value for money. Get in touch with us today to get a quote.

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