Who invented bubble wrap? And what is the story behind it?

All of you must have come across that bubbly sheet at one point of time. Fragile things often come packed in it, and children and adults like to blow those bubbles with the same enthusiasm. The bubble wraps, as they are called, provide safety for the things by cushioning them from impacts. These kinds of things are those we take for granted, seemingly irrelevant but play significant roles in our daily lives.

Like with a fair number of inventions, bubble wrap was supposed to serve an entirely different purpose. It was invented by two engineers named Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes in 1958. They were actually attempting to create three-dimensional wallpaper while they made the bubble wrap.

What they did was a simple thing. They sealed two shower curtains together in such a way that air bubbles were captured. It gave the wallpaper a textured appearance. But contrary to the inventors’ hopes this idea of wallpapers failed to make an interest in the market. However, the two inventors found another use for their product, and decided to market it as greenhouse insulation. Though the material provided some kind of an insulating effect, this idea didn’t connect with the customers either.

It took a couple of years for the product to find itself a relevant use. And, it was the idea of Frederick W. Bowers, a marketer at Sealed Air, a company co-founded by Fielding. It was then the IT giant IBM introduced their new 1401 variable word length computer. Bowers was consumed by the idea that Bubble Wrap could be used as a good packaging material to protect the computer during the shipment. He presented his idea to IBM and demonstrated the advantages of using Bubble Wrap to cover the computers. Satisfied with Bower’s presentation, IBM began purchasing Bubble Wrap to cover their 1401 and other fragile products they manufactured. The new use of bubble wrap became extremely popular, and many companies came forward to use the product to protect their products.

Bubble Wrap is now a generic trademark owned by Sealed Air Corporation. The bubbles on the sheet come in various shapes, even that of heart. There is even an International Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, observed on the last Monday of January. Believe it or not, the annual sale of bubble wrap is worth $400 million.

Advantages of using bubble wrap

Excellent Insulator

Bubble wrap is an excellent protector of fragile items when they are to be shipped. It keeps them safe and secure. Freight transit, unfortunately, in most parts of the world, is careless and handles delicate stuff roughly. Furthermore, due to road conditions, there might be bumps and potholes that could damage the items. Thus, shippers make sure that their products are bubble wrapped. The trapped air bubbles provide a flexible yet durable cushion against impacts. When protected with multiple layers and shipped in a sturdy corrugated box, the items are more likely to survive severe impacts. 

Bubble wrap is reusable

Once your items have reached you safely, do not throw away the bubble wrap. Bubble wrap can be reused if it has not been damaged significantly. As long as the bubbles are intact, you can reuse the bubble wrap. However, if you observe that the bubbles are damaged, it would be better if you purchase a new wrap. Not only do bubble wraps are a much more eco-friendly option, but they offer potential savings as well. 

Bubble wrap is lightweight

Bubble wrap is amongst the lightest packaging materials. It mainly consists of air to provide cushion and plastic for durability. Altogether, this makes it a seriously light packaging material that is capable of absorbing minimal to severe impacts. Furthermore, since the weight is light, it does not add up to the overall weight of the items when you are shipping them, especially in bulk. Less packaging means lower shipping costs. Therefore, a great packaging option in every aspect.

Bubble wrap is versatile

Bubble wrap could be used to wrap any type of cargo. It can be easily cut in different shapes and sizes to wrap any item you need. Even if there are some oddly shaped items, you can cut them using scissors and come up with perfect packing for a comparatively difficult product to pack. Furthermore, some people even use them to insulate their windows in summer, creatively. The possibilities with this thing are limitless. 

Stress reliever

Apart from being a splendid packaging material, bubble wraps are fun and help us relieve some stress. If you ever get your hands on one, we are sure that you will not be able to resist it. If found somewhere in the office or home, popping some bubbles might help you with your stress during frustrating days. So, there’s another use, if not for packaging, you could use it to keep yourself entertained for a while.

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