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What is this old-school packaging machine?

What is this old-school packaging machine?
Throwback Thursday style packaging automation: How old is it and what did it do?

Packaging Digest’s DIY Throwback Thursday packaging quiz poses several questions: What is this machine and what did it do? What era is it from?  How fast was it? And why did it end up in a museum?

Unplanned obsolescence has sent many a packaging machine to the scrap heap, but a select few end up as museum pieces like this rustic remnant of 20th century packaging automation. In a bow to Throwback Thursday, we have several questions to address for those nostalgic packaging industry detectives and engineers in our audience.

Our first question: What decade do you think this machine came from?

Answer is on the next page.

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Machinery and automation minded? That and more is found at UBM America’s newest design and manufacturing trade show and conference in Cleveland on March 29-30. Advanced Design & Manufacturing (ADM) Cleveland showcases five zones—packaging, automation and robotics, design and manufacturing, plastics and medical manufacturing. Visit http://admcleveland.com for more information.

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Answer: This machine dates to the 1930s.

Next question: What did this machine do and what market was it used in?

We offer a hint below the picture.

 

Hint 1: It was seen in a museum in northwest Wisconsin.

There’s another hint top of the next page if you need it.

Hint 2: It uses staples and is involved in packaging a food product. The answer appears below the photo.

It’s an Automatic Box Machine used to make “Hallock” style wooden boxes to contain fruit. It could operate at a whopping 70 containers per minute! Pretty impressive for the 1930s.

This example of 1930s packaging automation ended up in the Pioneer Village Museum in Cameron, WI.

The placard shown above reads as follows (with slight editing):

This machine was designed and built by Henry Ebner in the 1930s; it took him 8 years of trying different methods of taking the material out of the hoppers and feeding it into the machine. Once he hit on the system that worked, he applied for a patent on it and had a successful machine. It put all the foot-powered staplers run by one person on each “out” [so that] this machine would make 70 boxes per minute and with one operator to keep the hoppers full.

It took a wooden “band” out of one hopper and fed it into the machine and folded it into a square. It took a “bottom” out of another hopper and fed it into the machine and placed it under the folded band. Then the box was raised up and five staples were driven to complete the box, and the whole process was repeated.

It would make either a pint or quart size container for fruit.

By the 1950s, this square “Hallock” style box had been replaced by the American basket-style box, which had better ventilation for shipping fruit. The “Automatic Box Machine” lives on as a museum piece for curious visitors.

Do you know of any packaging machines operating today that belong in a museum?

___________________________________________________________________________________

Machinery and automation minded? That and more is found at UBM America’s newest design and manufacturing trade show and conference in Cleveland on March 29-30. Advanced Design & Manufacturing (ADM) Cleveland showcases five zones—packaging, automation and robotics, design and manufacturing, plastics and medical manufacturing. Visit http://admcleveland.com for more information.

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