Reading Time: < 1 minutes If it’s a toy — children and adults the world over seem to think it is — then I was probably the first kid to ever play with it. Continue reading Happy Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day!
Reading Time: 2 minutes Suppose you were a synthetic rubber specialist who is developing a lightweight, permeable, waterproof fabric. Wouldn’t 1939 be a good time to get as far from Germany as possible? Continue reading The Bubble Wrap back story (Readers Digest Condensed Version)
Reading Time: 3 minutes Helping a friend launch her book on KDP taught her more about book publishing and me more about art. A win-win! Continue reading Week in Review: Week 48
Reading Time: 3 minutes Modern Thanksgivings are comic tragedies of tension, travel, parades, and commercialism. We put up with all this to focus on food and family. Where is faith? Continue reading Week in Review: Week 47
Reading Time: 3 minutes As part of my research into the back story of the creation of Bubble Wrap, I needed to connect the dots of how the two inventors met. I had a good timeline with documentation for Marc Chavannes, but not enough on my own father, Alfred Fielding. Continue reading Week in Review: Week 46
Reading Time: < 1 minutes Sealed Air announced a new addition to its line of protective mailers. But despite the Bubble Wrap brand name, these bubbles presumably won’t pop. Continue reading When is a bubble not a bubble?
Reading Time: < 1 minutes Here’s a lighthearted view of what it’s like to work at Bubble Wrap Brand headquarters, as depicted by one of Sealed Air’s problem-solving mechanical engineers. Continue reading Happy Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day!
Nomination of Alfred W. Fielding and Marc Chavannes to National Inventors Hall of Fame
An invention that flopped as a wallpaper 60 years ago popped into public awareness soon afterward. When IBM chose the material to protect its delicate super computers, it changed packing and shipping forever. Today its role in pop culture as a toy, stress reliever and even modern art is celebrated every January on Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.
In 1957, Marc A. Chavannes, a Swiss chemical engineer, approached mechanical engineer Alfred W. Fielding with the concept of creating an insulating, textured wallpaper by sealing two sheets of plastic together on a paper backing. Chavannes had been working on ways to emboss thermoplastic film as early as 1948, but that method resulted in a textured sheet without the air cushioning we know today.
Working out of a small garage across the street from the Fielding Machine Co. in Hawthorne, N.J., they started by trapping air between two shower curtains. The material was not practical as a wallpaper, but in creating it they had developed a method to vacuum-form a pattern of air bubbles between two sealed sheets of treated plastic using machines Fielding developed.
If at first you don’t succeed…
The next application they tried was greenhouse insulation, but that also was not a success. However, on a bumpy flight into Newark Airport one day, they hit upon the ultimate use for their product: protecting fragile items during shipping.
They were the first to envision what became an entirely new industry: protective packaging. Until then, products were shipped mostly in sawdust or discarded or shredded newspaper, paper wadding, and other dusty, abrasive and often inky paper products. Now they faced another challenge: persuading shippers to buy a stronger, cleaner packaging material instead of using essentially free recycled industrial waste.Continue reading “The birth of Bubble Wrap”