When Were Corrugated Boxes Invented?
In 1856 the first known corrugated material was patented for sweatband lining in top hats. Then in 1894, the first corrugated box was made. Then in 1903 corrugated was approved as a valid shipping material for a manufacturer of cereal that had obtained an exception to the official classification. By 1910 there were an estimated 50 companies in business making corrugated or solid fiber boxes. It also offered cushioning and printability advantages. All of these characteristics were attractive to businessmen at that time who were eager to take advantage of nationwide distribution.
Architects discovered long ago that an arch with the proper curve is the strongest way to span a given space. Corrugated sheets have evolved with this basic principle in mind. The fluted medium is bonded to the liners with a starch adhesive. Once bonded the combined board resists bending. The flutes provide cushioning when pressure is applied from the sides and when placed on end they form rigid columns capable of supporting a great deal of weight.
The most commonly used flutes are C and B flute. Others include A, E, and F flute. Specialty micro-flutes have been recently created to form specialized grades capable of competing in the boxboard market. Generally, larger flutes offer greater vertical compression strength and cushioning. Smaller flutes offer printability advantages as well as structural advantages for retail packaging.