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A Brief Timeline of Product Packaging
A Brief Timeline of Product Packaging
August 06, 2019

Product packaging has been around for thousands of years. Its primary utility is based in its protective ability to keep products safe and dry from the external environment. From simple packaging composed of leaves and animal skins, to the transparent packaging used for products today – there’s no doubt that the ways in which we dress our goods have transformed over human history.


Today we’ll briefly look back at how far product packaging has come over the past thousands of years.


What Product Packaging Looked Like 3500 Years Ago

In ancient times, rudimentary packaging was composed of animal skin, nuts, gourds, twigs, and leaves – used to protect, store, and transport the products of the time. As history progressed to the inaugural construction of civilization and cities, trading and exchanging products of goods would necessitate sturdier means of transporting and protecting goods.

The Middle Ages would see the common use of barrels as a way to store certain goods, and glass became a viable means for transporting liquid-based goods, beans, spices, powders, and a few types of dried fruits and vegetables.


The Industrial Revolution’s Effect on Product Packaging

The Industrial Revolution of the 1800s would see the beginnings of product manufacturing through automated means rather than by hand. The level of production increased, and so too would the need for proper packaging solutions. It was in this era that the demand for storage and transportation bins, bags, primary packaging materials, and onsite (in-store) packing options would become realized.

Bulk packaging was something that existed before the Industrial Revolution, but individual packaging was something that had not been considered before. Packaging manufacturing companies would begin to work on finding palpable solutions to meet this new demand, and even started to print the name of the food manufacturer to indicate where the product had come from.


19th Century Packaging Innovation

By the 19th century, transparent packaging was available after the invention of plastic was introduced to the packaging manufacturing industry. Cellulose plastic transformed the industry and became the go-to flexible packaging solution of choice. As time would go on, the invention of new plastics would allow for new packaging capabilities – with manufacturers being able to effectively protect and extend overall product life. 


Product Packaging Today

Since the introduction of plastics to the packaging industry, it is evident that they have served to enhance the quality of life for people around the world and through history. Today we notice the use of transparent packaging on our grocery shelves, or at our local department store. It is clear that we still heavily rely on the manufacturing to product flexible plastic packaging to meet the needs of today’s consumers.


Wow! Product packaging sure has come a long way!
Posted by: Colby | August 6, 2019, 1:15 pm
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