The History & Meteoric Rise of the Humble Paper Bag
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Paper bags aren’t something that most people think about very often. They’re just something that’s always existed and continue to be the ultimate convenience. Of course, paper bags had to come from somewhere! Before they were invented and we at Kiki Bag came along, most people used a wide variety of containers for storing and transporting goods.

Everything You Didn’t Know About Paper Bags

When the convenient and disposable paper bag came along, it quickly became a staple of daily life and continues to play a large role in modern-day convenience. As plastic bags become more unacceptable from an environmental perspective, it’s time to learn a little bit more about the history and rise of the paper bag – keep reading the blog to find.

From the 1800s

It used to be that the British Empire used canvas, jute, or burlap sacks for storing and transporting goods around the world. The problem was that these were expensive to produce and took plenty of time to make as well. Paper bags began to emerge because they were quicker and cheaper to make, but it wasn’t until 1852 when school teacher Francis Wolle built a machine that was capable of mass-producing paper bags. While those early paper bags more closely resemble a large envelope than the paper bags that you’re probably used to seeing in grocery stores, this was the invention that saw paper being used for storage and transportation all around the world.

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Margaret Knight

While many people were tinkering with design changes and ideas, it was inventor Margaret Knight that changed everything. She made the mental leap to paper bags with square bases, and we still use the same design today. Working for the Columbia Paper Bag Company at the time, she made sure that the new design could be mass-produced easily. So successful was her new design that she was able to form her own paper company. The next time that you are carrying grocery bags from the car to your home, it’s Margaret Knight that you have to thank!

Pleats & Strings

The last two additions in the story of the history and rise of the paper bag are the pleated sides created by Charles Stillwell and the string handles that were added to the humble paper bag by Lydia and Walter Deubener. The pleats added by Stillwell made paper bags much easier to fold, and are still being used today (these are sometimes called SOS or self-opening sacks). The Deubener’s addition of string handles came at the perfect time and allowed users to carry up to 20 pounds of food in a single bag.

Marketing & The Paper Bag

It wasn’t just innovations in design and production that make up the history and rise of the paper bag. Today, big brands use their paper bags to market their name, and when Bloomingdale’s Big Paper Bag became an icon of pop culture, it’s no wonder that names like Kraft and even Apple now use their bags as an extension of the brand.

Some Final Thoughts on the Amazing Paper Bag

The story of the history and rise of the paper bag is not over. As more people than ever before are looking at the environmental impact of plastics, the paper bag continues to be dependable and cost-effective.

Chat to Kiki Bag about Your Branded Paper Bag Needs, Today!

Paper bags might not literally grow on trees, but they aren’t far off, and when you can even get paper bags with your own custom designs, businesses of all sizes can benefit from this ever-reliable storage and transportation tool. Chat to us now to find out more, or how to order yours.

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