Paper containers for milk are now so commonplace that it is hard to imagine that it took over twenty patient years of persistence to get the public to accept them. But it did, and the man who is responsible is named John Van Wormer. Van Wormer owned a toy factory in Toledo, Ohio. He got the idea for paper milk cartons after dropping a milk bottle one morning. The bottle broke, the milk went everywhere, and it was an annoying way to start the day.
Van Wormer took out a patent in 1915 for his new product. He called it “Pure-Pak,” because the container could be thrown away after one use. Then the difficulties began. It took all of ten years for Van Wormer to perfect a machine capable of making the containers.
Even then the struggle was not over, for most Americans were very attached to milk in bottles. But time, and a steady increase in the cost of glass, worked in Van Wormer’s favor. Soon many other companies were making their own paper milk cartons, and by 1950, Van Wormer’s company was producing them at the rate of 20,000,000 a day.