Who Invented the Milk Carton


Did you know that it took nearly 20 years for milk cartons to be accepted by the general public? Milk has always spoiled very quickly, so the need to bottle it has made sense. It was either placed into bags, which made a large mess, or into glass bottles. In 1915, a man by the name of John Van Wormer, who was a toy maker, thought that having a paper carton would make more sense for milk because it wouldn’t break if dropped. That led to the development of the “paper bottle.”

Van Wormer saw greater success with the milk carton, producing sometimes more than 20 million in a day. It also led him toward the invention of some additional items.

1. The Collapsible Box Lock

Having a paper container was a normal way of life. Having collapsible paper containers that could stack well was also a pretty normal way of life. The only problem was that once a container was collapsed, it wouldn’t always stay flat. That’s why Van Wormer had the idea to create a locking box that would collapse and then stay flat. This would allow for more storage space and it wouldn’t affect the overall integrity of the box either.

2. Folded Blank Boxes

Many boxes that were used in Van Wormer’s time had a specific purpose. They were used to package items, store items, and transport items. They were branded most of the time and used for commercial purposes instead of residential purposes. With the folded blank box, being able to take all of the commercial uses for a box came to every home in an affordable way. They could be quickly made into a box or broken down to store flat.

3. Nesting Boxes

As Van Wormer worked with boxes, he realized that if a box was folded in a certain way, it would stack a lot easier when it was stored flat. Certain folds also gave the box more security when it was put together as well, allowing it to be stacked with contents inside of it as well. His nesting boxes were one of the first examples of being able to create efficient storage spaces of boxes that were designed to be of the same size and quality.

4. Addressors

Do you address your mail by hand? That can be a time consuming process, so today we use stickers and stamps to speed up the process. Van Wormer created the first real stampbooking stamper that could be used for addresses, post cards, or pictures with a combination of a ink moistener and a spring holder with a thumb brace. This allowed for rapid addressing, art replication, and other items that needed large amounts of duplication.

5. Knockdown Boxes

One of Van Wormer’s final inventions was the original knockdown box, which provided rigid edges that could be used for stacking, but could allow the box to be broken down as well. This allowed the boxes to carry more weight and this design is still basically used today for everything from moving to shipping supplies to a home.

Milk Facts