Cardboard was Invented by Accident Here in New York City in 1879

55 Washington Street
55 Washington Street
Photo: Brownstoner

Robert Gair was an entrepreneur in Tribeca back in the mid-1800s, making paper products and other paper goods. In 1879, one of his workers accidentally created the product which would eventually become the ubiquitous cardboard box.

Gair began his entrepreneurial ventures in 1867, making square-bottomed paper bags and other paper goods, many of which were created on self-made machinery at his Tribeca space. But one of his greatest inventions was born in 1879 due to a worker error, when a pressman sliced through some 20,000 seed bags. Instead of inciting rage, the accident helped Gair visualize a more efficient, prefabricated method of box creation. That year Gair took out a patent for a machine that created folded boxes, a revolutionary invention for both the packaging and food industries.

Check out the full post for more history on Gair and the paper industry in the City.

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