Reading Time: 5 minutes – WRITING LIFE – How an internship for Reader’s Digest launched my interest in Houdini and a story that would haunt me for life. Continue reading Nothing up my sleeve…
Reading Time: 6 minutes – HUMOR – The old man and his wife moved to the country from the suburbs. And the squirrels moved with them. Illustrated and inspired by true events. Continue reading The Old Man and the Seed
Reading Time: 2 minutes – RHETORIC REFEREE – The words ‘If True’ make the difference between real and fake news, especially in an echo chamber. Continue reading The Indefensible ‘If True’
Reading Time: 7 minutes – SHORT STORY – In this scene from “He Said, She Said,” the owner of the Morning Sun and Evening Star tells “the troops” just what it means to go to war with an unseen enemy. Continue reading The Moral Equivalent
Reading Time: 2 minutes – WRITING – A first try at my first book weighs in at 3,219 pages. Apparently some editing is in order. Continue reading ‘Living Here’ — Beginner Error
Reading Time: 2 minutes – ON WRITING -With permission from the Republican-American, I plan to self-publish “Living Here” columns to benefit the newspaper’s charity, the Greater Waterbury Campership Fund. Continue reading ‘Living Here’ — Starting over
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”