The year was 1957, the place, a small garage in Hawthorne, NJ.
Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, two engineers with a creative streak, were attempting to create a 3D wallpaper. They sealed two vinyl shower curtains together with heat, in a way that would ensure enough air was captured in the middle to create the textured effect they were after.
Their little experiment failed, but the two saw great potential in the result as a protective packing material for fragile items. Within 3 years, Alfred Fielding went on to establish the Sealed Air Corporation. The company is still in existence today – producing enough bubble wrap annually to circle the Earth 10 times.
When it comes to packing items for moving or storage, it’s pretty tough to beat good ol’ bubble wrap. Beyond the practical uses of what we would expect with bubble wrap – packing glass or fragile items for shipping and storage – how about some of these maybe not so practical, but fun none the less uses?
- Quick and easy insulation – place it over holes or cracks in the wall, seal the edges, and you have yourself instant, economical insulation (you might also end up with the 3D wallpaper that our friends Alfred and Marc were trying to create).
- A bubble wrap prom gown or even a wedding dress. Yep, it’s been done.
- How about this one? A burglar alarm. Yes, a burglar alarm. Laid down on the floor in front of your door or intruder-accessible window, the crackle underfoot will not only wake you in the night, but will be just as much a surprise for the intruder!
- And let’s not forget the simple enjoyment kids of all ages experience when popping the bubbles by hand or stepping on the sheets. And, did you know that the act of methodically popping the bubbles by hand and listening to the noise has proven to be therapeutic and a stress relief?
You may have your own uses of bubble wrap which you’d prefer to keep to yourself, and that’s ok (we won’t judge you on your proclivities). But we do hope, however, that you will remember to thank Alfred and Marc for their failed experiment. Without them, we wouldn’t have videos of cats and bubble wrap like this: