How the Cardboard Box Was Invented

Sometimes to really appreciate something that is so simple, like a cardboard box, requires no more than a little imagination or, perhaps, some research into the past. That which we take for granted often can be the most sorely missed from the day-to-day.

Imagine No Cardboard

Imagine all those trips to the post office to mail something that won’t fit in an envelope, or pouring out cereal from that colorful box with the free game on the back, or that big move where you packed box after cardboard box of your belongings. Actually, how about imagining the alternative? This would be a life without cardboard. Likely the alternatives would be any combination of the following: Heavy, breakable and/or prohibitively expensive. Yes, this is the surprising importance of the ever so humble cardboard box.

Origins

As with so many things paper-related, (or with noodles and gunpowder), it all begins in ancient China, some three or four thousand years in the past. Apparently, citizens of the Han Dynasty utilized thick, treated sheets of tree bark to wrap and protect food items. After a long stretch of time, paper in general and cardboard in particular made it to European culture in large part due to the famous Silk Road. It would still be quite some time before we would see something taking the form of what we now know as the “cardboard box.” In 1856 a certain haberdashery wanted a material shaped as a box that could retain its own shape and protect the hats contained within. One might say that cardboard boxes perhaps owe their ubiquitous quality to the difficulty posed by storing and protecting something akin to Lincoln’s stovepipe hat.

M & M Box, which has been manufacturing chip, corrugated and specialty board partitions since 1968, owes its very existence to this invention. Call or email today to discover how M & M Box can help fulfill your shipping material needs.

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