What is Carton Packaging?

Brief History

Folding Carton kickstarted the packaging industry as we know it today, and continues to remain its importance even after 130 years. Now with it being the staple for product packaging, the industry is worth $80 billion and is expected to grow even further as the demand for product packaging increases.

Charles Henry Foyle is recognized as the inventor of the carton boxes, which consisted of a piece of paper that was cut so that it can be folded to form a box.

Carton boxes were initially held together by string and tacks. Because of its laborious nature, paper cartons were expensive and inefficient to produce, making them widely used only for storing items of value such as jewelry.

However, mass production did not begin until 1879, when Robert Gair found that his printing press could also be used for cutting through the material.

The National Biscuit Company became the first to adopt these cartons for their Uneeda biscuits, and others followed suit when they found that the folding boxes greatly enhanced the shelf life of their products.

A carton box today is now made from paperboard, which is also known as cardboard or Kraft paper. They have a maximum thickness of 0.032 inches or 0.81 mm and cannot hold more than a few pounds at most.

Three folding carton custom boxes made from paperboard.
photo: pakfactory

Benefits of Carton Packaging

Improvements to the manufacturing of folding cartons have ensured that they don’t always need to be in a cube shape. One side could be left open, tucked in, or one end can be used to lock the material together.

Windows can also be added to the material in place of the cardboard, giving potential buyers a preview of the product. For product marketing purposes, customers are more likely to buy when they know what is inside the box.

All these innovations improved sales significantly for many companies. What’s even better? They are typically environmentally-friendly and can be recycled.

The surfaces also allow for a stunning logo and label graphics to be printed, increasing its appeal. They can also be given a glossy finish, which adds to the effect.

What’s it Used For Now?

They are used in the packaging of several products, such as electronics, food, bakery items, confectionery, cosmetics, toys, cigarettes, and many others.

Because of their versatility, demand from the industry soon grew for folding cartons that could hold more substantial and heavier contents.

Corrugated fiberboard was then developed and proved to be the ideal substitute for cardboard. Working on the same principles as cardboard cartons, corrugated cardboard is capable of storing and protecting contents that weigh dozens of pounds.

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  1. I thought it was interesting when you talked about how innovations in carton packaging have improved sales significantly for many different companies. I would imagine that industrial packaging machines would probably play an important role in this process. It seems like they would speed up the process and make work more efficient.

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