Tuesday, June 12, 2012

SOS or Plastic?

not Charles Stilwell

Grocery paper bags are not as popular these days as they once were. Most folks choose plastic or their own reusable sacks, but the next time you visit Kroger or "the Krogers" as we Ohioans say, and decide to choose paper over plastic you can thank a Buckeye for the modern paper bag. It would also be hard to imagine the Unknown Comic or crafty pre-school puppets without this great contribution from a Union Civil War veteran.

On June 12, 1883, Charles Stilwell from Fremont OH was granted his patent for the Self-Opening Sack or SOS for short.

also not Charles Stilwell
 This was a great leap forward in paper bag technology that had been stalled for over a century. Stilwell actually didn't invent the paper bag. Prior to the SOS, the paper bag was simply a paper tube sealed at one end to form a V shape which was unable to stand without some assistance. This inconvenience made folks very unhappy. Stilwell listened to the people and invented a folded, pleated sack that could easily be opened with one swooping motion and its hi-tech flat bottom placed steadily on the counter ready to be filled with items. The next time you go Krogering, remember Charles Stilwell. Or don't.

Another great moment in Ohio history brought to you by Gehio.

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