You know how much we love Bubble Wrap® and all its uses. It’s a versatile, reliable and just downright fun product—plus it’s got a great story to its development. It kicked off with a slow start, before eventually propelling the creation of a successful company (and accompanying industry). That company itself is worthy of a closer look—so here’s a quick history of Sealed Air, Bubble Wrap® and the little bubbles that could.
You’ve probably heard the start of this story before, but it’s such a good one that it bears repeating. Living in Hawthorne, New Jersey in 1957, a pair of engineers by the name of Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes sealed together two shower curtains, creating a unique object full of air bubbles. Seeing the potential in their new creation, they set out to promote it as new-age 3D wallpaper.
Despite the design aesthetics beginning to take hold at the time, their new form of wallpaper didn’t catch on in people’s hearts and minds. Not ones to give up, they re-oriented their product as the ideal greenhouse insulation. However, this new format didn’t take off either.
Believers in the “if at first you don’t succeed…” school of thought, Fielding and Chavannes decided to soldier on. They christened their product Bubble Wrap® while looking for its use in the world, and founded Sealed Air Corporation in 1960. Talk about total confidence in your product, huh?
It wasn’t until a year later that a marketer by the name of Frederick Bowers saw the true potential of Bubble Wrap® as a packaging material that would provide superior product cushioning and protection. When he discovered IBM was about to ship their newest line of computers, the IBM 1401, he introduced them to the capabilities of Bubble Wrap®. And the rest, as they say, is history.
With Bubble Wrap® now the cornerstone brand of Sealed Air Corporation, Alfred and Marc’s years-long journey to prove their creation had a viable use was finally complete.
Seeing the need for protective products in the packaging world, Sealed Air has added more offerings to their line-up as time’s marched on. In the ’70s, Mail Lite™ shipping envelopes and Instapak “foam-in-place” cushioning systems joined their packaging family.
As their business grew in the ’80s, Sealed Aid added facilities in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. Adding Jiffy Packaging to their continually growing family, they also launched their first food packaging product, the Dri-Loc® absorbent pad line. And as you’ve probably guessed by now, Sealed Air didn’t stop there.
In the early ’90s, new plants opened in Germany and Spain. And in the late ’90s, Sealed Air purchased Cryovac©, a brand that revolutionized food packaging worldwide. They were now the world’s leading protective and specialty packaging company.
The 2000s have brought interesting and expansive developments for Sealed Air as well. Acquiring Diversey Holdings, Inc., they now provide cleaning and hygiene products to the institutional marketplace. In 2015, they broke ground on their new global headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, and opened their doors for all in May 2017.
2016 brought Bubble Wrap® IB Expressions to the packaging world. Available in fun, unique shapes and bold, vivid colors, Expressions customizes your e-commerce packaging even more. Imagine a customer opening their order to find red hearts, teal thank yous or white dog bones Bubble Wrap® greeting them. That’s an unboxing they’ll never forget, and yet another example of how Sealed Air is so good at what they do. You can see The Packaging Company’s Expressions Dispenser Boxes lineup here.
In January 2010, Sealed Air celebrated the 50th birthday of Bubble Wrap®, and now every January, packaging lovers everywhere celebrate those wonderful bubbles. That one little product, started by two engineers in 1957, grew into a multinational corporation with approximately 14,000 employees. A testament to holding strong, and believing in yourself, indeed.