Interior Design Magazine

Origin of Pizza Boxes

By Tracy Ashley @stella_jea

Origin of Pizza Boxes

Most pizza connoisseurs would say that the delicious snack tastes best when served straight out of the oven. However, more than a billion pizzas are delivered every year using simple cardboard boxes. Despite of the fact that almost everyone amongst us are familiar with pizza boxes, very few might have an idea about their origin. So let’s find out how these wonderful boxes came into being.

During the early years of 18th century, bakers commonly utilised copper containers called stufas for transporting pizzas and small breads on the street. These stufas were very effective in keeping the food items warm because of copper’s excellent ability to dissipate heat. They even had lids featuring covered vents for managing steam exhaust.

As the century turned anew, pizza started becoming popular in the industrialised cities of America. After World War II, especially during the 1940s, the snack was sold on stiff corrugated bases that could snugly slide in a big paper bag. The thin structure of the bag allowed steam to evade, but not without significant heat loss.

The next decade witnessed the introduction of the first ever pizza boxes made out of thin paperboard. Although some places still use this material, it is not very efficient at withstanding the heavy moisture released by hot pizzas. As a result, these boxes had a major drawback – they collapsed under their own weight. They are far better suited for use along with bakery packaging equipment to increase the shelf life of other baked items.

The evolution of pizza boxes took a giant leap with the founder of Dominos, Tom Monaghan. As Dominos mainly focussed its trade on delivery, Tom Monaghan wanted to develop corrugated cardboard boxes. He collaborated with a corrugated box firm based in Detroit, Triad Containers, to create something that became a standard in the field of pizza delivery.

With so many years spent to make pizza boxes more durable and well-insulated, some of us may wonder if there is still room for them to improve even more in the near future. Many experts would answer that curiosity with a yes, because various pieces are coming up that can tackle heat loss more effectively and also combat steam release issues. However, it will take a bit more time for them to become commercially available. Until then, all we can do is wait anxiously for the next big leap in the pizza box industry.

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