The history of paper bag manufacture is an interesting one.
The first paper bag making machine was invented by Frances Wolle in America in 1852. In 1869, Wolle with several partners, including his brother, founded the Union Paper Bag Machine Company, and the factory they opened then is still in operation today, under the control of International Paper.
Margaret Knight Patent Diagram of Paper Bag Making Machine
In 1870, a profilic inventor, Margaret Knight, while working at the Columbia Paper Bag Co., invented a machine to make a square-bottom bag by first forming a tube of paper, which is then glued together, after which the bottom of the tube is folded in several intricate ways to form a flat bottom which is then glued to complete the bag. We sell a range of very popular Corn/Flour Bags today, that are made in a very similar way, incorporating a tubular body, but a flat bottom. A woman not to be trifled with, she fought off an attempt by a man named Charles Annan to steal the details of her machine in 1871 and patent them as his own. She successfully fought off his attempt to steal her design by showing a court all her detailed drawings, schematics and notes, which led to Mr Annan’s claim being thrown out.
Early Paper Bag Making Machine
In 1883, Charles Stillwell patented a machine that created a bag with not only a flat bottom that the bag could stand up on, but also side gussets that made the bag easier to fold and stack. This type of bag is still in general use today as the American grocery bag. We sell a range of similar bags as our Kraftex Bags range, but only the largest, a 28lb bag, could really be used as an American grocery bag).
The first paper carrier bag is credited to Walter H Deubner, who, in 1912, owned a grocry store in Minnesota, USA. He wanted to find a way of increasing his sales and came upon the idea of making a paper bag that was enforced by strings running through the bag, which also acted as a handle. He succeeded in making a carrier bag that could carry weights of up to 75lbs (34kgs). Within a couple of years he was selling the bags at 5¢ each and was selling over a million a year.