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Fascinating facts about the invention
of the Milk Carton by John Van Wormer in
Paper containers for milk are now so commonplace that it is hard to imagine that it took over twenty patient years of persistence to get the public to accept them. But it did, and the man who is responsible is named John Van Wormer. Van Wormer owned a toy factory in Toledo, Ohio. He got the idea for paper milk cartons after dropping a milk bottle one morning. The bottle broke, the milk went everywhere, and it was an annoying way to start the day.
Van Wormer took out a patent in 1915 for his new product. He called it "Pure-Pak," because the container could be thrown away after one use. Then the difficulties began. It took all of ten years for Van Wormer to perfect a machine capable of making the containers.
Even then the struggle was not over, for most Americans were very attached to milk in bottles. But time, and a steady increase in the cost of glass, worked in Van Wormer’s favor. Soon many other companies were making their own paper milk cartons, and by 1950, Van Wormer’s company was producing them at the rate of 20,000,000 a day.


Why Didn't I Think of That?: Bizarre Origins of Ingenious Inventions We Couldn't Live Without
by Allyn Freeman, Bob Golden / Paperback - 260 pages / John Wiley & Sons; (September 1997)
Filled with wacky and fascinating facts, awe-inspiring success statistics, and rags-to-riches stories, Chronicles the odd origins behind 50 famous inventions and reveals the business side of each product's actual production, marketing, and distribution.

Milk: From Cow to Carton
by Aliki / Paperback: 32 pages / Harpercollins Juvenile Books; Revised edition (October 1992)

Aliki takes readers on a guided tour that begins with grazing cows, proceeds through milking and a
trip to the dairy, and ends with some different foods made from milk.

The Milk Makers
by Gail Gibbons / Paperback: 32 pages / Aladdin Paperbacks; (June 1987)

Cows eat special feed to make good milk. But after the cow is milked, there are still many steps the milk must go through before it reaches you. This book describes them all. And you'll be surprised to find how many other things you eat and drink come from milk, too.
Why Didn't I Think of That ( This title is out of print. )
by Webb Garrison / Hardcover - 120 pages (1977) / Prentice Hall / ISBN: 0139586032

The History of Cartons
The Pure-Pak carton has come a long way since its humble start in 1915. Since then, it has undergone continuous development in order to satisfy consumers and to
protect its contents.

History of the Milk Carton

American Paper Company acquired Van Wormer's patent and worked on to perfect the machines. In 1934 Ex-Cell-O Corporation, a Detroit-based automobile machinery manufacturing company, acquired the rights to manufacture and distribute the Pure-Pak system.
Machines to Make the Cartons
For Arthur J. Evers Corporation, the milk carton has become the key ingredient in their continuing success. The Riverton, New Jersey, machine shop sits just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, and specializes in paper-converting machinery – more specifically, creating machines to score and cut milk cartons.
History of Elopak

Elopak was formed in 1957 as the European licensee of Pure-Pak® and became a major supplier of Pure-Pak® cartons in Europe. In 1987, Elopak purchased the U.S. assets of Ex-Cell-O Corporation's Packaging Systems Division.


Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised February, 2005.

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