The Evolution of Aluminum Foil II


By 1929, aluminum accounted for 11% of all metal foil produced. Household aluminum foil was marketed in the late 1920's. Then, in 1931, aluminum foil was packaged in appropriate sizes and thicknesses, in both rolls and sheets, and as an institutional wrap primarily for use by hotel, restaurant, and hospital kitchens.

Aluminum's share of foil production had rocketed to more than 50% by 1932. Another packaging use received a boost in 1937 when a brewery ordered 100 million aluminum foil bottle labels, the largest at that time. In. 1938, 56% of all foil produced was aluminum, and today, this is in excess of 90%.

The first heat-sealing aluminum foil was developed in 1938, and many attractive new packages and labels were seen at marketing shows and in the stores during the next year or so. But aluminum in all forms was soon drafted for war use in all parts of the world.

The effect of World War II on aluminum foil was to establish it as a major packaging material, and as a major product within the aluminum industry. It's truly spectacular growth period was launched. Principal uses during the war were for such essential military applications as packaging to prevent damage to contents by moisture, vermin, and heat, electrical capacitors, insulation, and anti-radar chaff, which were dropped from planes on bombing missions, as a radar shield.

Following the war, aluminum was available for commercial use in large quantities, and the packaging industry in particular was familiar with the many protective, plus the visually attractive qualities of foil. Manufacturers of thermal insulation also found its barrier properties and reflectivity to be unexcelled. Aluminum foil applications began to multiply and foil packages and products became standard items in retail stores.

The first formed, all-foil food containers appeared on the market in 1948, with a folded, cook-in design. This grew into the complete line of die-formed and air-formed foil containers now sold in every grocer and supermarket, either as product-containing packages, or as convenience dishes and pans. In 1949, large scale promotion and distribution of institutional aluminum foil quickly expanded its market.

Aluminum foil/fiber cans for both dry and liquid products were developed and the first large-scale order for foil/fiber motor oil cans was produced. Today, the leading products packaged in this type of can include snack products, cosmetics, and ready-to-bake items.