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Bubble Wrap Was Designed To Be Wallpaper – It Failed

bubble wrap

National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is observed annually on the last Monday in January.

  • The primary purpose of bubble wrap is to protect fragile items either in shipping or storage.
  • People also get enjoyment from popping the bubbles in bubble wrap.
  • Engineers Marc Chavannes and Alfred Fielding sealed two shower curtains together in 1956 in the town of Hawthorne, New Jersey.  This technique created a smattering of air bubbles which the engineers initially thought would make a great wallpaper!  Sales for the wallpaper never materialized, so they moved to selling the product as greenhouse insulation.
  • The Sealed Air Corporation was founded in 1960, but Air Cap (name before it became Bubble Wrap) wasn’t used for shipping until IBM starting shipping the 1401 computer in 1961.  Bubble Wrap is a trademarked brand of Sealed Air Corporation.
  • Each year Bubble Wrap hosts a ‘Young Inventor’ award that encourages them to find ways to use Bubble Wrap outside of packaging.
  • The next time you watch a movie or television show set in a high school, it’s possible you’re looking at a bunch of extras toting Bubble Wrap around campus. Actors sometimes carry backpacks stuffed with the product so they’re not forced to lug around heavy books during a long shooting day.
  • In 2015, Boy Scouts in Elbert, Colorado succeeded in setting a Guinness World Record for the most number of people popping Bubble Wrap simultaneously: 2681 Scouts participated.
  • Artist Bradley Hart has a unique approach to modern art. Using a syringe, he injects paint into individual air cylinders of Bubble Wrap, creating pixelated-looking landscapes and portraits. Hart also displays the reverse side of these works, which feature running paint from the injections and serve as a counterpoint to the more disciplined image on the front.
  • Popping Bubble Wrap ranks among life’s greatest small pleasures. (Sealed Air even offers an “Anti-Stress”-labeled roll of the stuff.) Some have theorized it may have to do with our ancestral habit of crushing ticks or other insects that plagued us—although the truth may be a little less morbid. In 1992, psychology professor Kathleen Dillon conducted a study in which she found that subjects were more relaxed and less tired after a popping session.
  • When transporting critically ill patients, Norwegian emergency medicine technicians sometimes use Bubble Wrap to prevent hypothermia in the frigid climate.
  • In 2004, the Museum of Modern Art accepted a donation from Sealed Air of a nearly 12-inch by 12-inch square of Bubble Wrap into their Architecture and Design collection. It went on display as part of their Humble Masterpieces collection, which also featured chopsticks and the Band-Aid.
  • Line the crisper drawer with bubble wrap to prevent bruises to fruit and other produce. Cleaning the fridge will be easier too – when the lining gets dirty, just throw it away and replace it with fresh bubble wrap.


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