The History of Plastic Bottles

The History of Plastic Bottles

Photo By Jan Hendrickx

With our busy routines and all of our day-to-day activities, it’s easy to overlook the simple things. From paper clips to sidewalks to electricity, it seems that our brains are programmed to ignore the minor conveniences of life until they’re missing. So as we stop to smell the roses, as it were, we turn to the humble plastic bottle, something that’s ubiquitous today, yet wasn’t always so.

Initially, ceramics and glass were the medium of choice for bottles. Many major archeological digs use ceramic and glass shards as a method of dating their finds, and they were really the only choice until the late 19th century. Plastic bottles first came on the scene in 1875, but were remarkably expensive because science was only beginning to understand the many different types, compositions and properties of plastic.

One of the first of plastics was called Galalith. It was created with milk proteins and formaldehyde but ultimately proved unsafe for long-term use. Another early plastic was a more familiar name, Bakelite, from the early 1900s. It was the first plastic created by only synthetic materials. A true success, early Bakelite products are still sought after by collectors and historians. A synthetic plastic that was heat-resistant but not a conductor of electricity, Bakelite ushered in the modern age of plastic.

In the 1960s, polyethylene came on the scene and became the new standard. Composed of a complex chain of molecules, polyethylene remains in widespread use today. For our own Consolidated Plastics polyethylene products, we use both high- and low-density versions to create bottles that can bend to your touch while standing up to various chemicals.

In 1981, Consolidated Plastics was founded and has since remained on the cutting edge of plastic technology, exploring new generations of plastic products and innovative techniques, such as blow molding. We use blow molding for some of our bottles, both to ensure a uniform product and to maintain higher FDA standards in all our shapes and sizes.

These include Boston-Round bottles, that classic cylindrical body with a short curved shoulder, perfect for the distinguished workplace. Ours are made of low-density polyethylene for storage and dispensary. Yorker dispensing caps or flip-top caps are included for your convenience.

Then there’s the popular Nalgene bottle, which is found in both the narrow-mouth and wide-mouth variety. Translucent for easy identification and rigid in form, these bottles are made of a high-density polypropylene which renders them safe for chemicals and general use, with screw closures that are guaranteed to be leak-proof.

Another popular example is our pharmaceutical round bottle. With a wide aperture and a stout body, this bottle was designed for safe storage and dispensing of pharmaceutical supplies and drugs. Professional black caps are included with every pharmaceutical bottle.

Looking back over time, we see that plastic has become so popular because it does such a good job of storing and transporting so many things, in so many shapes and sizes. And with plastic containers from Consolidated Plastics, you can be sure you’re getting more than great utility — you’re also getting the best quality and value!