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Mystery Still Surrounds Paper Bag Inventor

In the late 1850/60s, many scientists and inventors were focused on a new field of research: the creation of the modern day paper bag. It was such a hot topic that the original designer is unknown. Some believe that it was a certain William Goodale of Massachusetts who patented the first paper bag manufacturing machine on today's date in 1859. Yet other sources state that Francis Wolle devised the process for paper bag making 7 years earlier in 1852. However, I prefer to believe that it was in fact manufactured by a female. Margaret Knight is known to have produced a machine in the 1970s that greatly improved the form and shape of the paper bags. This improvement came in the form of a mechanically folded and glued square bottom which allowed the bags to stand on their own. The paper bag was the primary way to take home groceries until the 1970s when supermarkets switched to the much cheaper plastic bags.

Join The Conversation
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 10 years
Makes more sense that it was a woman! I do 95 percent of the grocery shopping in my house!
Amity-A Amity-A 10 years
I wonder who invented the token baguette sticking out of the top of paper bags.
Chica8a Chica8a 10 years
something new i learned today
sevendayrain sevendayrain 10 years
wow...I did not know any of that....
crispet1 crispet1 10 years
Dun dun dun... Will the mystery ever be solved!?
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
who knew? good history lesson!
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