History of Cardboard Boxes [Infographic]

Mark Dawson http://www.globepackaging.co.uk 3m 735 #cardboard

The views, opinions, and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments on this website are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of Confessions of the Professions thereof. By reading the following article, you do not hold responsible Confessions of the Professions or any contributing authors for the content of this confession. Viewer Discretion is Advised.

Read This Confession To Me

Origination of Cardboard Boxes

Unopened Cardboard Box

Cardboard boxes are amongst the most admired packaging materials. They come handy when transporting goods from one place to another. You can pack all your objects using the cardboard boxes of correct dimension and design. This way you can keep your stuff secure and avoid any kind of objective scratch to them. The history of cardboard boxes is pretty interesting. The foundation of the cardboard boxes dates back to China, about three thousand years ago. In the earliest and second century B.C., the Chinese of Han Dynasty used sheets of treated Mulberry tree to protect food. Paper was developed in China during the Han Dynasty.

Due to the business deals among the empires of China and Europe, cardboard gradually made its way west. Cardboard was primary used as a printing material in Europe rather than a storage box. In 1856, Edward Allen and Edward Healey were in the trade of selling hat and they were searching for a material that could keep the form of the hat while providing warmness. So they invented the first corrugated paper. In 1871, Albert Jones was granted a patent for “improvement in paper for packing”. In the paper, he explained a new method to pack the goods.

The patent also declared that it was not restricted to packing bottles or glass based product, it could also be used for a variety of materials. The cardboard boxes of nowadays took form after few years of this copyright. Robert Gair’s mass-produced foldable cardboard boxes were admired those days and they were used for little items like cosmetics, tea and toothpaste. Wooden carats were used for transferring good prior to the creation of cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes still stay one of the simplest packaging materials to shift goods.

Here we have an amazing infographic, created by Globe Packaging, which revolves around the history of cardboard boxes.

History of Cardboard Boxes [Infographic]

Click to open / Right-click for save options

PDF Version

Text-Friendly Version

The History of Cardboard Box

It may be the most simple of inventions but the cardboard box still plays an important role in our everyday lives. From transporting goods and products to playing a vital role when moving home or buying groceries – the cardboard box is a real Jack of all trades, and master of most. But believe it or not the story of this most versatile of items is far from straight forward. Take a trip through time and follow its fascinating journey.


1817 The first commercial cardboard box is produced in England by Sir Malcom Thornhill – more than 200 years after the Chinese invented cardboard as a means to wrap food.

1840 In France, cardboard boxes were popularized by silk manufacturers transporting Bombyx mori moth egg from Japan.

1850 As a way to market to the masses, the Kellogg brothers were the first to use cardboard boxes for their cereal products.

1856 The first patent for a cardboard product was used for high hats worn by English gentlemen in the 1850s.

1879 A factory accident in New York led to 20,000 paper bags being ruined – however, Robert Gair realized he could use them to create folding box templates.

1890 Making the most of this discovery, Gair later invented a machine to produce pre-cut cardboard boxes by using flat pieces that could be folded together.

1896 US biscuit manufacturer Nabisco began using cardboard boxes for packaging and distributing their products.

1900 By the turn of the century, wooden crates and boxes were being replaced by corrugated paper shipping cartons.

1939 Cardboard boxes were used to protect the gas masks given to every citizen in the UK following the outbreak of World War II.

1983 An area of London that was home to around 200 homeless people living in cardboard boxes became known as “Cardboard City”.

Note: Cardboard is used to ship 90% of all products in the USA.

2005 Melbourne architect Peter Ryan designed a whole house composed largely of cardboard boxes.

2009 In the UK alone, 7 million tonnes of cardboard for packaging and boxes were produced by the end of 2009.

2014 Most cardboard boxes today are made from re-used material and 70% of cardboard around the world is recycled.

Note: In France, there is a museum of cardboard which features early products and boxes of different shapes and sizes.



About the Author

Mark Dawson is working as a Marketing Manager at Globe Packaging, a company which provides industry standard packaging materials and packaging machinery at competitive prices.



Comments are closed.