The first folding cartons were developed in the mid nineteenth-century in America. An improvement was made by Robert Gair of New York in 1879, when he produced a means of speeding up the process. British firms were slow to take on his machines, but by the 1880s and 1890s they were being used extensively, principally for the growing soap and cigarette market. By 1897, some 800 patents relating to folding boxes had been registered worldwide. In 1915, the American John Van Wormer was granted the patent for the ‘paper bottle’, the first folded blank box for holding milk. By the 1930s, their use had widened to include honey, glacé cherries and ice cream.


  • Title: Folding Cartons
  • Type: Food container
  • Rights: Robert Opie Collection

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