The History of Moulded Fibre
Packaging has been made from moulded paper fibres for more than 100 years Moulded fibre – a modern packaging material with tradition and a future
The triumphal march of moulded fibre across the globe began over 100 years ago. Whereas only plates and trays were made out of moulded paper fibre to begin with in 1903, moulded fibre today is regarded as a versatile packaging material for foods such as eggs, fruit, vegetables and meat, as well as non-food products.
Moulded fibre first saw the light of day in 1903, when Martin Keyes founded the Keyes Fibre Company in the state of Maine/USA in order to manufacture plates and dishes out of wood waste and cellulose. By doing so, Keyes laid the foundation stone for the triumphal march of products made of moulded paper fibre (see box for definition) all over the world. Keyes was soon supplying bakeries with cake trays and moulds, grocers with cardboard plates for butter and other goods, and housewives with picnic and household packing materials.
He developed the first water-resistant moulded fibre plates in 1915 and a disposable dinner service made of moulded paper followed in the late twenties. On top of this, the Keyes Fibre Company was the first to manufacture plates with separate sections for the different components of a meal.
Thanks to the outstanding shock-absorbing properties of moulded fibre, the idea was hatched in 1931 of storing and transporting fresh eggs in special moulded fibre packaging. Hump packaging made of ground wood pulp (see box) for 30 eggs then dominated the transport of eggs between producers and dealers until well after World War 2.
The modern egg carton form with a lid and practical snap lock was developed in the 1960s. This revolutionary invention simplified the transport of eggs considerably and provided better protection. Prior to this, eggs were sold individually and carried home in baskets or paper bags, whereby up to 30 percent of them got broken.
Today, moulded fibre has established itself as a packaging material that is not only suited for eggs and other sensitive foods, such as fruit and meat. In addition to this, its high flexibility and mouldability make this material the ideal packaging for products as diverse as neon lamps, mobile phones and electric razors.