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Happy 50th Birthday, Bubble Wrap!

Posted January 25, 2010 10:57 AM by Sharkles

Today marks the 50th birthday of Bubble Wrap, the truest "pop icon." The now-famous material was envisioned by inventors Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding of Sealed Air Corporation (US) in the late 1950s.

Originally, Bubble Wrap was to be used as textured wallpaper; however, this idea remained grounded until Fielding had an idea while flying. Company lore says that during his flight, Fielding noticed how the clouds seemed to cushion the decent of the plane. Today, Bubble Wrap is commonly used to provide cushioning for a wide range of fragile goods.

How It's Made

Although some people believe that air is injected into each bubble individually, that's not the case. After starting out as a bead of polyethylene resin, beads are extruded until the resin melts into a liquid and is then squeezed into two stacked sheets of clear film. One layer is wrapped around a drum with holes punched into it; suction is applied to draw a web of film into the holes to form the bubbles. The second film is then laminated over the first, so that the air is trapped in the bubbles.

With Bubble Wrap, bubbles can range in size from as small as ΒΌ inch (6 millimeters) in diameter, up to an inch (26 millimeters) or more. Generally, larger bubbles increase shock absorption during transit.

Uses

Bubble Wrap never made it as textured wallpaper, but it does have a wide range of uses, The invention of the transistor, and later the personal computer and accompanying accessories, were really what caused Bubble Wrap to grow in popularity.

The "pop"-ular material also has many uses besides packaging. A quick search on the Web will show that Bubble Wrap has been used to make wedding dresses, hats, wigs, etc. Many people also enjoy popping the bubbles to hear their distinctive sound and enjoy a stress-relieving satisfaction.

The material is so well-known and appreciated that the last Monday in January, which also happens to be today, marks "Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day."

Want to appreciate Bubble Wrap, but don't have any on hand? Try the virtual Bubble Wrap – Happy popping!

Resources:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100125/ap_on_bi_ge/us_bubble_wrap_turns50

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_Wrap

http://www.sealedair.com/corp/faq.html#bubble

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#1

Re: Happy 50th Birthday, Bubble Wrap!

01/25/2010 11:17 AM

I LOVE bubble wrap! It's a lightweight packing material and virtual bubble wrap is so much fun to play with. I have to admit that the virtual version is probably a lot greener, though...

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#2

Re: Happy 50th Birthday, Bubble Wrap!

01/25/2010 11:20 AM

I adore bubble wrap-- I always loved getting ahold of some of it in a package and popping every last bubble! One of the more creative uses I've seen for it was to make a painted, textured background paper for scrapbooking.

We had a recent cubicle escapade that involved helping a coworker create a bubble wrap shirt for a friend. (You can see the esteemed Sharkles in the cube behind me) ^_^

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Happy 50th Birthday, Bubble Wrap!

01/25/2010 11:22 AM

ZOLTAN!

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#5
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Re: Happy 50th Birthday, Bubble Wrap!

01/28/2010 10:26 AM

I bet that's nice and cosy.
Makes me want to give you a big hug < pop..pop...pop...pop > D'oh !
Del

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#4

Re: Happy 50th Birthday, Bubble Wrap!

01/25/2010 11:26 AM

I wonder how many hundreds of (wo)manhours just evaporated because you published that virtual link

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#6

Re: Happy 50th Birthday, Bubble Wrap!

08/15/2010 10:17 PM

Great invention. Here is what I did one day using the pop sounds,

I was friends with a professional dancer and suggested to lay out the small stage with the larger size bubble rap. Once he entered the stage he popped the bubbles at will with feet and hands, creating his own rhythm while doing so.

We were only a small crowd and after that I had no bubble rap left for my paintings. It was very interesting to watch and listen to but it was never repeated. I wonder if someone else would like to get a group of dancers together and repeat this for a You Tube thingo. All synchronized of course.

Back then You Tube had not been invented and no sound or picture recordings were done on the day.

It was very entertaining but naturally had to stop at one stage. Just ran out of bubbles, good old Hapee. Kiwi bloke and martial arts master on the side. So jumps and wheel carts did their bit as well. I wonder were he is today and if he has ever suggested it to other dancers. Great fun for a surprisingly long time.

Please do it somebody, suggest it to your local dance company. Just having fun and wishing to share Bubble Rap Dancing, Ky.

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