They come to us folded and perfect, protecting our goods. It’s not always been that way. Before the corrugated box was invented in 1871, shipping was a haphazard affair. The only protection a tarp or clumsy wooden box. One that could not be easily reproduced.

Shipping boxes were invented by accident when a printer dropped a ruler into his press and discovered it left creases that could be folded on the poster board he printed.

Today, we expect a lot from these boxes. Too often though, we ignore and take them for granted. If you really look though, there is certain art about them. They have traveled many miles and wear the marks from doing so. Marks that give them patina and an abstract appeal.

If you don’t believe boxes have an art to themselves, a recent study of toys and young children might give you pause. It seems that young children will open a box containing a toy, but quickly tire of the toy. Once they do, they start playing with the box it came in. This phenomena happens so often that in the National Toy Hall of Fame made a special exhibit of shipping boxes.

Boxes have short lives, sometimes only a few days from packing to receipt. They only ask that we take note of their wonder and reuse or recycle them for another journey…

David Young