The debate on the environmental impact of paper bags vs plastic bags packaging has been going for a long time and so far there is no satisfying opnion or answer. Which bag should we choose in the store?
Paper is one of the oldest materials used in packagings manufacring. Sheets of mulberry bark were used by the Chinese to wrap food products already in the nd century BC. Ten thousand years later, paper have moved to the Middle East and then to Europe and America where important change was that the main raw material was wood pulp rather than mulberry bark.
The first mention of paper bags (packing paper) appear in 1844 (Bristol), however, a milestone was the invention in 1852 by an American designer Francis Wolle paper bags production machines. Wolle first patented his invention in the United States, then in France and England. In the following years, he developed his ideas but design and operation of machines actually has not changed for many years. In 1969 Wolle with partners founded the Union Paper Bag Company.
An important event was the invention in 1870( by thirty-three Margaret Knight) of device to cut, fold and paste follded paper bags bottoms.
Before Knight could place the patent application, she found Charles Annan who was attempting to steal Knight invention. Woman filed a patent interference suit against Chales Annan. She was spending over $100 a day plus expenses for 16 days. Annan claimed that because Knight was a woman she couldn’t understand the production proccess. Due to her notes, the court ruled in her favor.
The most intensive period in paper bags production is the thirties of the twentieth century when Charles Stilwell began working with a fast growing network of supermarkets. Strength and low production costs made bags, packing paper and paper bags have become very popular becoming in a symbol of the changing American society.
Ofcourse, after the invention of Margaret Knight there were a few improvements of paper bags manufacturing process, however, the production has not changed practically at all.
Good thing does not need to change 🙂