Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Humble Bread Clip

The humble bread clip we use them everyday with out giving them a second thought. But who invented this marvel of the modern world? Keep reading and discover the history of the humble bead clip.

The bread clip was invented by Floyd G. Paxton and manufactured by the Kwik Lok Corporation, based in Yakima, Washington with manufacturing plants in Yakima and New Haven, Indiana. Kwik Lok Corporation's clips are eponymously called "Kwik Lok closures".
 
Floyd Paxton was known for repeatedly telling the story about how he came up with the idea of the bread clip. As he told it, he was flying home on an airliner in 1952 and opened a bag of peanuts, whereupon he realized he had no way to reclose it. He rummaged through his wallet and found an expired credit card and hand-carved his first bag clip with his small pen knife. When a fruit packer, Pacific Fruit, wanted to replace rubber bands with a better bag closure for its new plastic bags, Paxton remembered his bag of peanuts. He hand-whittled another clip from a small sheet of Plexiglas. With an order in hand for a million clips, Paxton designed a die-cut machine to produce the clips at high speed. Despite repeated attempts, Paxton never won a United States patent for his clips. He did win numerous patents for the high-speed "bag closing apparatus" that made the clips, inserted bread into bags and applied the clips for the finished product.


The bread clip was developed in the early 1950s, because there was a growing need to close plastic bags on the packagingline very efficiently. Manufacturers, using more and more automation in the manufacture and packaging of food, needed methods to allow them to raise production volumes and reduce costs. At the same time a hurried population of consumers wanted a fast and easy way to open and effectively seal food bags—originally bread hence the name. The simple bread clip allowed for that. In addition, re-closability became a selling point as smaller families and higher costs slowed consumption, leading to a potential for higher rates of spoilage.

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