SOS: Paper Grocery Bag

Charles Stilwell, a mechanical engineer in Fremont, OH, got a patent in 1883 for improvements in paper bag manufacturing machines, which led to the first machine-made folding paper bag. His design was a free-standing, flat-bottomed, brown paper bag. Dubbed the S.O.S., or Self-Opening Sack, it remains in widespread use today.  It was particularly useful to grocers as it could hold more weight than prior designs.

Folding and Gluing Too.

A woman inventor from York, ME, named Margaret Knight (1838-1914) is
credited with inventing the process for automatically folding and also
gluing paper to form a paper bag. She initially worked at the Columbia
Paper Bag Company in Springfield, MA, where bags were manually glued. Her invention  is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

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