Throwback Thursday: How in the World Was Bubble Wrap Invented?

January 26, 2017


Monday is National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, and boy oh boy, do we appreciate it?! This bubble-snapping good stuff has a very interesting and surprising history. For this Throwback Thursday, we look to how this now ubiquitous packaging inner came to life.

Life is full of happy accidents, and bubble wrap happens to be one of those special cases. Next Monday is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. We at Ernest Packaging certainly appreciate bubble in all its forms — air pillows, bags, rolls, sheets, anti-static, cohesive, adhesive or bundles.

Why should you appreciate bubble wrap on Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day (or any other day for that matter)? Because, in the simplest sense, the best packaging for any product is to circle it with air. Therefore, bubble wrap is the purest version of the ultimate packaging challenge.

We know just how protective bubble wrap can be for shipping and storage — like when our president Tim Wilson went skydiving with nothing but bubble to protect him. But the lesser-known story of bubble wrap starts with its inventors, two engineers Al Fielding and Marc Chavannes.


In Hawthorne, N.J. in 1957 these two set out to create textured wallpaper from two shower curtains. Apparently, the wallpaper market wasn’t quite right for the textured invention because no one was interested it — at least not as decor.

After a failed attempt to introduce the product as greenhouse insulation, it finally got the attention of its rightful market. Innovative marketer Frederick Bowers realized that the plastic bubble sheets might have a more useful application. When IBM announced its new 1401 variable word length computer, Bowers introduced them the newly named Bubble Wrap as an effective way of protecting the delicate machines. And the rest is all history.

That’s a (bubble) wrap for this issue of the Ernest Buzz. Contact us today to avoid any shipping accidents — happy or otherwise.