Inventors of Daily Use Plastic Items!

From the time we get up in the morning to the time we sleep, we use numerous plastic items to help us in our daily chores. Many a times, we use them without giving any special attention or thought, but they play a very important role in our activities. Through this blog post, I wish to create awareness about the inventors of daily use plastic items.

Pencil Eraser: Edward Narine, a British Engineer, invented eraser in the year 1770. He was also able to successfully sell the product in European market. You would be surprised to know, before the invention of eraser, breadcrumbs were used to erase pencil marks; whereas, wax tablet was used to remove marks of lead and charcoal.

Plastic Wrap: Ralph Wiley, a college student who was also a glassware cleaner at the Dow Chemicals Lab, accidentally discovered the material (PVDC based) when cleaning some vials in 1933. You can read his detailed interview in Brinewell, published by the Michigan Division, Dow North America here.

Air Tight Plastic Container: Earl Tupper, born in New Hampshire in 1907, worked for about a year at Viscoloid, a plastic division of DuPont. He started his own plastic company in 1938 based on the experience he gained at DuPont. Based on the design of paint cans, he invented air and water tight containers from improved plastic obtained from polyethylene slag. A documentary was made on Tupperware which was aired by PBS in Feb 2004. Link

Garbage Bags: Canadian inventors, Harry Wasylyk & Larry Hansen, invented garbage bags in 1950, which were first sold to Winnipeg General Hospital. The invention was later purchased by Union carbide Company, Ontario and started commercial production of Glad Garbage Bags. Later, Dr. James Guillet, a chemist from University of Toronto, invented garbage bags which had the ability to decompose on coming in contact with direct sunlight, in 1971. 

Polyethylene Shopping Bags: Sten Gustaf Thulin, a Swedish package designer invented plastic shopping bag in 1965, which because of their looks were also called as ‘T-shirt bag’. However, the patent was filed by a Swedish Packing Company named Celloplast (US Patent No.: 3180557).

Water Bottle: Nathaniel Wyeth started work on plastic bottles in 1967, however, his initial bottles were incapable to handle high pressure generated by carbonated beverages and exploded. Then, inspired by the stretchability of nylon, created ‘preform’ and subsequently stretching and blowing of the preform to produce plastic bottles. Process was patented in 1973. Interestingly, in 1977 first PET soda bottled recycling plant was operated.

Dear Readers, do go through the above content on Inventors of Daily Use Plastic Items and let me know your viewpoints in the Comments section.

Thanks for reading!

I put up a new post whenever I come across an interesting topic, so follow my blog and stay updated about the developments in the polymer industry.

References of various inventors:

  • Edward Narine: Link
  • Ralph Wiley: Link
  • Earl Tupper: Link
  • Harry Wasylyk and Larry Hansen: Link
  • Sten Thulin: Link
  • Nathaniel Wyeth: Link

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