From ice cream to Chinese takeout; my, how innovations morph from one usage to another in a hundred years.
In the late 1800’s, Bloomer Brothers operated in Newark, New York. To stay abreast of current packaging demands, Bloomer Brothers began producing a box of popular local oysters. In the 1930’s and 1940’s they developed a “Peel Pail” for ice cream, along with others. After several acquisitions, in 1977 the folding carton business became a separate entity, the Fold-Pak Corporation.
In 1943 Bloomer Bros. copyrighted “The Peel-Pail”, for ice cream. Being a paper product, not a great deal of these containers still exist from almost seventy-five years ago. But there are still some floating around. When I spied this little jewel sitting on a antique store shelf – for only $3! – I quickly grabbed it up and dropped it in my basket.
Here’s what Mental Floss wrote about Bloomer Brothers.
WHITE GOLD STORAGE
The iconic little folded box with a handle wasn’t originally designed with Moo Goo Gai Pan in mind. In the early 1900s, fresh oysters were so plentiful along the New England seashore and such a steady source of income for fishermen that they referred to the shelled slimies as “white gold.” The average consumer, however, didn’t want the mess or hassle involved with shucking oysters, so the savvy fisherman removed the shells from his catch prior to selling. Originally, customers brought their own containers, but the oyster business eventually boomed so much that Bloomer Brothers, a package manufacturer in Newark, New York, began mass-producing a wax-coated cardboard box that could be used as an oyster pail. The little buckets were soon used by vendors as a carry-all for everything from ice cream to live goldfish. Eventually, folded food containers became Bloomer’s number one product. Shortly after World War II, Chinese food suddenly exploded in popularity with mainstream America, and the oyster pail became the carton of choice for Asian carry-out. Bloomer Brothers eventually became the Fold-Pak Corporation and is now the largest supplier of Chinese food containers in the United States.
And while I love these little steps back into time like this small ice cream container from so many years ago, for my dessert pleasures I prefer my ice cream freshly made, like the carton that currently sits in my freezer waiting to be consumed tonight.