facts about bubble wrap

Although, by January, you have doubtlessly taken down your Christmas lights and recycled your tree, the festivities aren’t over. That’s right, January 25th is National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, which Americans celebrate on the last Monday of January. We here at SSI Packaging love the bubbly stuff, even though we have to save the fun of popping it for our customers. In celebration, here are some fun facts about Bubble Wrap that may surprise you.

It was originally marketed as wallpaper

Bubble Wrap’s original incarnation was, believe it or not, wallpaper. This isn’t so crazy when one considers the context of the late 1950s. As more and more household gadgets entered the public market, it became quite normal for designers to experiment with futuristic-seeming textures, materials, and patterns. In 1957, an engineer named Al Fielding and a Swiss inventor named Marc Chavannes teamed up to create a three-dimensional, raised wallpaper. To test their idea, they glued two shower curtains together, leaving pockets of air throughout. Ultimately, the wallpaper idea never took off…but luckily, the inventors managed to find a great buyer for their product, in a small manufacturing company called IBM.

Bubble Wrap® is a brand name

Like Chapstick, Kleenex, and Crock-Pots, Bubble Wrap is actually a brand name. It’s dominated the market so well and for so long that it’s become a ubiquitous term. Fielding and Chavannes themselves filed several patents for Bubble Wrap in 1960, and called their company Sealed Air Corporation. More than 60 years later, Sealed Air is still going strong, and its star product has been embraced around the world as a lightweight, yet protective shipping material. Writers beware: if it doesn’t come from Sealed Air, it’s “laminated cushioning material.”

It has incredible protective qualities

But just how protective is it? In 2000, Sealed Air itself decided to answer that question via the rather unconventional method of dropping a pumpkin onto a bubble wrap landing pad. The 815-pound pumpkin, nicknamed “Gourdzilla”, survived the 35-foot fall completely intact—for a few seconds, anyway. “The pumpkin survived the drop,” said then-CEO William Hickey. “The problem is that it bounced.”

It sent a military base into lockdown

When most of us picture Bubble Wrap bubbles, we imagine the small, pill-sized kind which make relatively quiet pops. But it was sandwich-bag-sized bubbles that ended up sending a New Mexico Air Force base into lockdown. After a civilian employee stomped on several “air pillows” in order to flatten them, someone mistook the sound for gunfire, and called 911. Base Director of Public Affairs, Eric Elliott, noted that the caller’s response was doubtlessly influenced by a mass shooting which had occurred in San Bernadino, California, earlier that week. In any case, all was well that ended well, and local authorities were appreciative for the unplanned emergency. “We got a good exercise out of it,” Elliot said.

Popping it is good for your health

For many people—or, dare we say, most people—popping Bubble Wrap ranks among one of life’s greatest pleasures. And beyond being fun, there’s some scientific evidence that it’s actually good for our mental health, too. In 1992, psychology professor Kathleen M. Dillon conducted a study wherein a trial group of undergraduate students were given two sheets to pop. A control group, meanwhile, remained pop-less. At the end of the study, the poppers reported that they felt more calm, energized, and alert than before. The pop-less control students, however, reported feeling more or less the same. Dillon theorized that bubble wrap popping, like finger tapping and other sensory habits, might be a way anxious humans find a way to relieve muscle tension while simultaneously freezing in their tracks.

Get wholesale Bubble Wrap in Richmond

We hope you enjoyed learning these fun facts about Bubble Wrap. Whether you need a roll to protect some fragile materials, or to simply relieve some stress, SSI Packaging has what you need. We offer real, authentic Bubble Wrap made by its original manufacturer, Sealed Air, as well as a wide range of other packaging and shipping materials. If you live in or near Richmond, Virginia, stop by and see us, or check out our product inventory online.

(804) 808-1606