Category Archive: Paperboard

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.


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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In every industry excellence comes with practice and the dissemination of the latest information around trends and processes. Cartons are no different. With several environmental concerns plaguing packaging in general, cartons made of recycled paper have been touted as a compromise between deforestation and non-biodegradable choke up or pollution.

The Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) is serious about keeping industry related organizations in the U.S and Canada updated in terms of the whole manufacturing time-line of a carton right from paper selection and prepping to customer delivery, without skipping any steps between.

The Folding Carton Boot camp is a bi-annual event. It is generally held once in winter and once during spring with the latter being the more popular edition. However December 2014 saw an unprecedented 35 individuals from companies far and wide attend the Boot Camp to glean knowledge around:

  • Paper production
  • The different kinds (grades) of paperboard available
  • The process of packaging creation
  • The intricacies and best practices of using presses to coat the paperboard with ink
  • The complexities of the pre-press process
  • The utilization of Computer Aided Design (CAD) in creation and visualization of new carton designs and prototypes
  • Colour theory and the direct interrelation between ink colour and consumption (absorption) by the different grades of paperboard
  • Creasing, windowing and gluing of cartons

June will see an encore of the event and enthusiastic participation is expected by the PPC.

A part of the allure of the Camp, over and above the detailed information and industry insights, lies in the free resources offered. Not only will students receive The Ideas and Innovation Handbook, the will also get their hands on a binder of paper and carton samples and a consolidated glossary of printing terminology to guide their solo efforts.

The Folding Carton Boot Camp is a certification event and participants have the advantage of going over the material discussed in the form of comprehensive take-home PDFs and worksheets.

Paperboard Packaging Council’s President Ben Marken expressed his delight at the keen interest shown in the Boot Camp and hinted at more value to be delivered to future attendees.

M&M Box participates in this PPC event regularly and is proud to invest in itself and its continued quest to be the best in the market.

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