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Shoppoingbagsdirect Paper Bags

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Personalised bags, printed bags.

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      10.12.2006 15:05
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      The paper bag with handles is 100 years old!

      Try to imagine shopping before plastic bags were invented. Difficult, innit? Now try to imagine shopping before paper bags were invented. Impossible, you say? And why should you, weren’t paper bags around for ever? Oh, no, they weren’t, they were invented only in 1906 and this year the paper bag is celebrating its 100th birthday! Congratulations and jubilations!

      Adam and Eve had to collect big leaves if they wanted to carry around things [no shopping for them :-) ], later people went to the market with sacks made of fabric if they wanted to carry home, say, a piglet or with baskets for fruit and vegetables, only in the Middle Ages people got the idea to make bags of leather. When paper was invented and had become cheaper through mass production, it was used to wrap the items the customers had bought, the parcels then were tied with string so that they could be carried home, a long and tedious process.

      Then came the year 1906 and inventors of the VP, Vereinigte Papierwarenfabriken (United Paper Factories) in Munich thought of a paper bag with two handles which could be carried over one arm or in one hand so that the customers could go on looking for other items with the other one, they called the new product ‘Handfrei’ (hand free). They had their invention patented, it was successful from the start. Tradesmen ordered big amounts because they realised that the packing process had become more convenient and shorter - no more hassle with paper, string, scissors and sticky tape - and as time is money in business they profited from the invention.

      Already in 1883 the American Charles Stilwell from Philadelphia had made a paper bag with a firm bottom, alas, he hadn’t thought of handles so nothing much came of it. In 1902 the Austrian Max Schuschny did think of handles, but only in 1906 mass production began. The firm in Munich whose inventors had the product patented is still the leading producer of paper bags in Europe.

      When the plastic bag was invented, the paper bag suffered badly, only in the 1980s, when people became conscious of the environment, it gained back lost ground, a plastic bag left after a picnic on a meadow may lie there for decades whereas a paper bag rots quickly. Yet, what is even more important: the paper bag changed its reputation completely, from being considered the plastic bag’s cheap ancestor it became its elegant sibling. When in 1968 the people from VP had the glorious idea to glue the handles to the inside of the bag, the two sides were free and clean and could be used for ads. Luxury brand enterprises like Chanel, Gucci, Prada or Versace, to name but a few, hired designers to devise original and good-looking bags. And they did! One simply can’t imagine rich people coming out of sinfully expensive boutiques carrying plastic bags. Impossible!

      The paper is firmer nowadays, the colours are mostly muted, the brand name is printed in a different colour and the paper bag itself has become a message, fans collect the prettiest or rarest specimens, some even decorate their walls with them. Artists have attended to paper bags, Andy Warhol was the first, but also Roy Lichtenstein, Joseph Beuys and Keith Haring refined them, collectors pay more than 10.000 € for these artefacts. Who'd have thunk it?

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      I wanted to write on paper bags as such but you know that dooyoo accept suggestions only if one gives them a link. So I googled the term and came to the site www.shoppingbagsdirect.co.uk, it's not my fault that dooyoo put it in as the title of the category (with a typo, bah!), it would have been enough to use the piccie. If you‘re interested, go and have a look, it‘s fascinating, they make customised paper bags, in case you‘re the owner of an enterprise, you may get an idea how to pack your goods nicely, thus luring more customers to your shop and consequently becoming stinking rich! :-)

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