Cardboard packaging – a product invented by mistake

What world would it be without boxes?

Cardboard packaging is now common, but until the 19th century it was wooden crates or chip boxes that served their purpose.

Robert Gair, Albert Jones and the new idea of box

In 1867 in Brooklyn, Scottish immigrant Robert Gair manufactured paper bags for packaging on specially designed machinery.

A decade later, a worker working for him accidentally cut 20,000 pieces.

The incident prompted Robert Gair to devise a more efficient paper container for packing food and other goods.

Until then, in fact, the cartons were cut and folded manually by women, significantly increasing the cost of the product.

Robert Gair therefore took this opportunity to design the first cardboard packaging model to be mass-produced, using a machine that he later patented.

During the Industrial Revolution it was the American Albert Jones who designed corrugated cardboard.

The real breakthrough came in 1896 with the packaging of Nabisco’s popular “Uneeda Biscuits” in folding cartons.
It was Robert Gair who produced the first two million cartons for the National Biscuit Company.

Immediately after it was the turn of the cereals: the first real pre-packaged biscuit entered the scene!

Cardboard packaging: the packaging enhances the product

The real potential of folding boxes was the ability – for manufacturers – to print advertising on all six sides of the package.

Gair himself invested in the lithographic process of advertising printing: we owe to him the real revolution in the world of packaging and advertising.

If it is true that “the habit does not make the monk” it is also true that a “well packaged product is half sold“!

It is precisely according to this logic that designers always design new shapes to make the packaging of the boxes more impactful.

Competitions such as the German Packaging Award or the ProCarton / ECMA Carton Award are an example of how the packaging industry is a constantly changing creative basin.

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