This year at Pack Expo Las Vegas, attendees will receive a special lesson in history thanks to curators and longtime industry experts Jack Aguero and Brent Meyer. This new exhibit, titled PACK to the Future, is a journey through the history of packaging, with historical facts, images, stories, and machines from the archives of the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, CPGs, and companies such as Coca-Cola, Hormel, Anheuser-Bush, and others.
PACK to the Future features a 250-year timeline that traces the evolution of packaging back to the industrial revolution. Often referred to as the start of modern packaging, the industrial revolution paved the way for the creation of industrial and machine manufacturing, ultimately transforming the technological, socioeconomic, and cultural aspects of societies. As governments began to play key roles in facilitating these changes, demand for packaging grew. For instance, in the United States, the creation of the Food and Drug Administration ushered the need for labeling, with the requirement of packaging labeling dating back to the mid-1800s.
This exhibit will also feature the incredible stories of the people behind the packaging industry, some dating back to the 1700s. These stories center around individuals not always directly involved in the packaging industry but who wanted to make the world an easier and better place to live in. For example, Michal Owen, a glassblower who wanted to remove children from glass factories, invented an automated bottle-making machine. Otto Rohwedder, a jeweler, invented sliced bread and the machine to wrap it. Freddy Lenz was a sausage maker who created a machine to tie the ends of sausage, which became so popular it was used as a bundling tool for other industries. Margaret Knight, who worked in the textile industry as a child, invented the machine that makes flat bottoms for paper bags and eventually founded the Eastern Paper Bag company.
In addition, various machines will be on display, with an 1890’s digraph stencil machine previously used to stencil crates transported down the Mississippi River on riverboats and a replica of a 1940’s Pony Label Rite from ProMach product brand NJM. Read more about that machine on Pharma Packaging News. Others on display will include the first PLC monitor an early cart nurse, and many others.
As attendees leave the exhibit, a video wall will showcase industry leaders speaking to the future of packaging, reminding us of how far we’ve come and where we’re headed next.
To hear more about the exhibit, listen to the latest podcast from the unPACKed Podcast from PMMI featuring Aguero and Meyer or follow Aguero on LinkedIn.
See you at the show!