The following information
was obtained from Fibre Box Handbook by Fibre Box Association The
use of corrugated paperboard apparently stemmed from clothing fashions.
In Victorian England, gentlemen wore tall, stiff hats. Cylinders
of paper were used to help maintain their shape. When they got wet,
the paper could be replaced. In 1856, two Englishmen, Healey and
Allen, obtained a patent for the first known use of corrugated paper.
Made on a hand-cracked adaptation of a collar press, it was used
as the lining in hats. It was stronger than the cylinder of plain
paper, and its flutes provided cushioning in the sweatband.
The first use of corrugated paper for packaging came in 1871. An
American, Albert L. Jones, obtained a patent for the use of corrugated
paper for wrapping bottles and glass chimneys for kerosene lamps.
It had better cushioning properties than plain paper wraps, and
was less messy than sawdust.
Three Years later, in 1874, Oliver Long patented the concept of
adding a liner to one side of the corrugated paper to prevent stretching
The next few years were devoted to the development of machinery
to add one and then two liners to the corrugated sheet. With two
liners, corrugated board was stiff and could not be wrapped around
glassware. Henry Norris and Robert Thompson teamed up to look for
other packaging uses. The concept of cutting and slotting pasteboard
to make small folding cartons was already in use, so they tried
similar patterns to make boxes. With the addition of slots to accommodate
the thickness, they introduced "cellular board boxes"
in 1894, which were much lighter and less expensive than wood boxes,
and appeared suitable for the shipment of light products. Samples
were submitted to Wells Fargo, a major handler of small freight
and light express shipments. The boxes performed well in test shipments,
and were accepted as shipping containers by Wells Fargo in 1895.
This marked the beginning of what is today the largest segment of
America's packaging industry.
Improvements in raw materials and manufacturing processes and new
uses for corrugated boxes have been numerous. For example, the paperboard
used for early corrugated containers was made from straw. About
100 years ago, the kraft process was developed to make pulp from
wood. This process is a chemical process that uses sulfate as solvent
to dissolve and wash away lignin (a glue that holds cellulose fibers)
and that produces the highest yields with the least damage to the
fibers and thus the strongest paper. Papermaking improvements gradually
extended the range of available grades. Chemical additives were
developed to improve wet strength or impart other properties. More
recently, higher strength container-board, for a given weight, has
been developed through either mechanical or chemical procedures.