Sunday, February 14, 2021

History of beverages packaging

Packaging came about as a method of preservation in the pre-historic era. Packaging plays an important role in the quality of products by providing protection from environmental, chemical, and physical challenges.

The first types of packaging were made of natural materials – skins of fruits, gourds, carved wood, and hides. Animal skins were also a good option for tying up food and hitting the road.

The first evidence of pottery and glass being made was about 7000 BC., yet industrialization of the process by the Egyptians was not seen until about 1500 BC. The ancient Egyptians were the first to “industrialize” a food/water container by developing glass water pots. The pots were colored and it wouldn’t be for another 500 years until glass makers could produce transparent glass.

The newest packaging developments were tin cans about 150 years ago, and plastic about 75 years ago. Metal cans were initially manufactured for snuff, later were used in the canning operation that was discovered by Nicholas Appert when he answered a challenge from French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte to develop a method to preserve food for his army. He proved food could be preserved for an extended time by boiling it at high temperatures and then sealing it in glass containers.

Appert used glass bottles with corks secured with wire as a closure to contain food while heating. British inventor and merchant Peter Durand quickly took this idea and demonstrated it could be used with a tin can.
Bottling was a manual or semi-manual operation until the first decade of the century, when the fully automatic manufacture of glass bottles started, or in other words, after Michael Owens had built his famous bottle making machine.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the bottling lines have developed with a speed that is almost beyond imagination - to wash, rinse, dry, fill, close and label more than 16 bottles a second, almost without physical labour.

The first beverage can (tin-plated steel) was made by Krueger Beer in 1935. Until then, beverages were only available in glass bottles. Soda soon joined beer inside cans.

Paperboard was first used to manufacture folding cartons in the early 1800s. Corrugated boxes that today are widely used as a shipping container to hold a number of smaller packages were developed in the 1850s.

Plastics including cellulose nitrate, styrene, and vinyl chloride were discovered in the 1800s but were not used in any packaging until well into the 20th century.

The use of plastics in beverage packaging has continued to increased due to the low cost of materials and functional advantages (such as thermo-sealability, microwavability, optical properties, and unlimited sizes and shapes) over traditional materials such as glass and tinplate.

One part of a package that was patented in 1892 played a significant role in the development of the beverage industry. William Painter, the founder of what today is Crown Holdings, Inc., patented the crown cork. This was a metal cap that had a layer of cork inside that gave a good seal against the top of a glass bottle.

In 1959 the beverage can get its modern update when Coors introduced the aluminum can (less costly than tin).
History of beverages packaging

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