The history of packaging begins with the use of simple containers for transporting foods. Glass, gourds, and tin cans were common materials used to make these products. Eventually, they would be replaced by cellophane packs, beer cans with pop tops, and other forms of plastic packaging. By the end of the 19th century, manufacturers were using a variety of materials for their packaging needs.
When early humans first began to trade and travel, they tended to live in small localized groups, producing and consuming items locally. It is believed that packaging began around 200 B.C., when mulberry bark was cultivated. At the time, cellulose fibers from these plants were used as packaging materials. Then, they migrated to Europe, where paper-making techniques began to be refined. Later, they reached North America and started making clay pots and animal skin bags to carry food and valuables.
Earlier, prehistoric humans gathered and hunted their food. They used animal skin to wrap and transport products. They also made use of animals as packaging to protect their food from animals. Eventually, they began to settle in towns and cities, and packaging became more sophisticated. The development of trade brought more goods into the world. As trading spread, more people and products could be traded, and packaging became a silent salesman.
Once the first human settlers arrived in civilization, they began relying on packaging technologies to store and transport more goods. The first modern plastic packaging was tin cans, which were introduced in the nineteenth century. Then, as people became more nomadic, plastic bottles and jars came to dominate the market. By the middle of the 20th century, packaging had become a silent salesperson. In the 1950s, the introduction of aniline printing technology made it possible to print realistic images onto the packaging. In the following decades, other materials were used to manufacture this type of packaging.
As mentioned above, the origins can be traced back to the prehistoric period. In the early prehistoric age, humans lived in nomadic tribes. They often traveled for food. This led to the development of the first plastic materials. It was not until the 19th century that the first modern-day supermarkets began to use plastics. Today, the evolution of packaging can be traced to the rise of the supermarket culture.
Formidable packaging dates back to the ancient Greeks. Then, it was later used by the Romans. In the late 19th century, it was the primary commercial plastic material. By the beginning of the 20th century, PET plastic bottles were introduced. Its popularity continued to grow. After the advent of the modern supermarkets, the use of plastics in the United States became common.
Next came the invention of the first collapsible metal tube in the early 20th century. Then, plastics started to be used for packaging in the late 19th century. Then, the rise of the pop-top aluminum can and polyethylene plastic bottles followed. Then, the history of packaging began to change dramatically. The advent of the pop-top aluminum can paved the way for the modern pop-top can.
As cities developed and became more important, packaging began to take on more significance. After World War Two, one-use materials were first introduced, which allowed people to store larger quantities of food. The first commercial use of plastic came in the 19th century, when the French chef and the British inventor discovered that food preserved in glass jars could be kept for a long time. Ultimately, tin cans and PET plastic bottles were introduced.
The invention of plastics changed the packaging industry forever. A single-use plastic bottle was developed in the early 1900s and became the preferred material in the flexible packaging sector for decades. This ushered in the era of polyethylene, which would become the dominant material in the packaging industry. By the end of the 20th century, plastics had transformed the world’s lives and the history of packaging. Nowadays, the history of packaging is rich in examples of new and old innovations.