Before There Were Plastic Bottles

Before There Were Plastic Bottles

This is the first blog post and so history is being made.  Speaking of history, let’s journey back to a time before plastic bottles.   (I know it’s hard to believe but such a time actually existed.) Don’t worry, this trip won’t be too long because we only have to travel to the 1940s.

Before plastic bottles existed, liquids were distributed in either glass or ceramic bottles. You’ve all seen glass milk bottles and glass soda bottles. It’s less common today but that’s how liquids were packaged and distributed.  Even shampoo came in glass bottles!  Seems a little dangerous…

One event that really ignited plastic packaging took place in 1935 with the invention of polyethylene (PE) in England.  The material was used in World War II for coating military communication wires and paper wrappings for small arms.  When the war was over the demand for polyethylene products dramatically decreased.

Two inventors, Enoch Ferngren and William Kopitke, found another use for the plastic when they mimicked the process of glass blow molding..  They invented the first plastic blow molding machine and sold it to the Hartford Empire Company in 1937.  Plastic was still a new material at the time but it started to take hold in the packaging industry.

As more people experimented with different chemicals more plastics were created. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to name a few.  These new plastics created a lower-cost and lower-weight alternative to glass.  Plastic containers had proven that they were here to stay.