11 Unbelievable Facts about Cardboard Boxes!

Though amongst the simplest of inventions, these rarely unappreciated boxes play a vital role in our lives. Interestingly, they have made our lives much easier by easing transportation and making playtime more enjoyable for the kids. From transporting, packaging groceries to moving offices and homes, cardboards are vital in nearly all parts of our day to day lives.

Despite considering them as non-essential, cardboards are quite vital, play a vital role and surprisingly have a very rich history.

1. Cardboard City

The idea of cardboard city is some interactive and creative artworks. However, it is probably inspired by some real places in Europe.

It was an area of cardboard boxes where more than 200 people once lived between 1983 and 1998. It was located near Waterloo station in London just underneath the pedestrian underpasses under the Bullring roundabout.

It is the current site where the London IMAX cinema is located.

cardboard city

2. Did you know the cardboard box was an accident?

Back in 1879, the cardboard box was way ahead of its time. It might not seem so innovative in 2016, but back then it was beyond innovative.

Funny enough, it was a result of human error. A pressman sliced through and destroyed some 20,000 seeds bags. Through this Robert Gair spotted an opportunity to start a more efficient and prefabricated method of box creation.

To make the most of his invention, Gair later invented the machine to produce pre-cut cardboard boxes that were using flat pieces and could be folded together.

3. Peter Ryan’s Cardboard houses

Ever thought of living in a cardboard box? Well, as a kid, I would have done this, but with maturity, cardboard houses lose their allure. Well, you can live your childhood dream by purchasing one of Peter Ryan’s cardboard houses. Yes, you heard me right. Cardboard houses. A Melbourne architect, he designed a house majorly made of cardboards that could be used to temporarily house victims of natural disasters or as for those willing to be a bit adventurous.

4. The cardboard museum.

The French are quite proud of their role in the development of the cardboard box that they dedicated an entire museum to celebrate the history of the cardboard boxes and its production methods from the 19th century to the present. It is open all through the year and closed on Sunday and Tuesday mornings.

Known as the Musée du Cartonnage et de l’Imprimerie (Museum of the cardboard box), it is located in Valreas France.

5. Recycled

Most of the cardboard boxes in circulation are recycled. Buy a pack of biscuits and chances are it is packed in recycled cardboard. Want to move then there is a 70 % that those cardboards are recycled. This is quite commendable since it stops the destructions of forests. Close to 70% and only 30% are manufactured.

There are plenty of DIY projects that’s children do at school using cardboard boxes and learn how to make the best use of these recycled boxes. If you are interested in creating your own useful DIY and looking to buy customised packing boxes, then many manufacturers like https://www.echocartons.com.au are available to supply customised packing solutions in bulk.

Cardboard recycle

6. Protective gear

During the Second World War, the UK government used cardboard boxes to protect gas masks that were given to each citizen. The cardboard was preferred because it was more durable, easier to transport with and was easy to print on.

The inside of the cardboard contained instructions as to how to use the gas mask in case of a gas attack.

7. First company to use cardboards for packaging

It is common to have biscuits packed in cardboard boxes. It is nearly a routine, and anything other than cardboards seems like a wonder. Well, all this had a beginning and biscuit manufacturer Nabisco was the beginning of all this.

Nabisco was the first company to use cardboard boxes for packaging and popularised this method which was later picked up by other manufacturers and businesses.

8. Cardboard toys

Children have been playing with cardboards for quite a while now. Some use them for dress up games; others stack them together to build simple houses.

But, an interesting fact you did not know is that there is a simple cardboard toy in the national toy hall of fame.

cardboard toy

9. Made of three different layers

Most of us consider cardboards as non-essential and a product that will always be available. We overlook it so much that we have no idea how it is made.

The corrugated cardboard boxes are made of three layers of Kraft paper. Paper mills send out tonnes of Kraft paper to corrugating plants. Here, the middle layer is moulded and the top and bottom parts glued on later. It is then cut and folded into cardboard boxes.

10. Very cheap

Not just cheap, but very cheap. Cardboards are way cheaper than plastic containers, less harmful to the environment and thus the most preferred mode of packaging.

Just to emphasise how cheap they are, they make up only 1% of the value of goods stored/packed in them.

11. Invention

Robert Gair who is termed as the father of the cardboard, actually just put the finishing touches on the cardboard box. The cardboard has a richer history dating back to 105AD in China during the Han dynasty.

A government official Tsai Lun invented the paper which was used to wrap food. However, it was not until 1817 that British Industrialist Sir Malcolm Thornhill produced the first cardboard box from single cardboard sheets.

In 1856, the first cardboard product was patented. However, it was not a cardboard box but a lining to hats that were designed by two British inventors: Edward Allen and Edward Healey. It would be15 years until the corrugated paper was used commercially for shipping and packaging.

In 1871, a New York entrepreneur by the name Albert Jones won the patent to a single sided corrugated board as shipping material. He used it to wrap glasses for safe transport. Later on, in 1874, one Oliver long improved the cardboard by adding liner sheets on both sides of the cardboard. This simple innovation made cardboard stronger and more durable. During the same year, the first machine for mass production of double sided corrugated cardboard was built. After this, it was all up to Robert Gair to put the final touches on the cardboard box.

As you can see, the cardboard has one rich history and was once a breakthrough innovation. If you liked this piece, share. Otherwise, share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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