SELF-LOCKING EGG CARTON
This artifact is a press to create self-locking egg cartons. Prior to the invention of self-locking cartons eggs had to be kept wrapped or secured loosely. This issue became especially problematic in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when transport infrastructure improvements greatly increased the amount of distance a product could need to travel. The distinct need for a safe and efficient container led to innovations.
The first egg carton was patented by British Columbian Joseph Coyle in 1918. The individual compartments and ergonomical shape of the design quickly became the new norm and various egg compartment designs sprung up in the following decades.
This press was created by the “Self-Locking Carton Company” a subsidiary of Shellmar Limited. Shellmar and the SLCC filed numerous patents for various egg cartons and related products throughout the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The mechanism in the photo allowed for the quick transformation of pulp cardboard into a sturdy egg carton.