So you must have heard of McIntosh Box and Pallet Company by now. I mean if you haven’t, I’m sorry to hear that. But no need to worry, you can get yourself caught up quick if you head over to our home page! But the purpose of this blog isn’t to talk about how awesome McIntosh is (okay, maybe just a little). The purpose of this blog is to give everyone a little history lesson on how pallets came to be an iconic staple in numerous industries throughout the world. Without the invention of pallets, McIntosh Box and Pallet Company might not be a thing. So today I thought we would take a trip back in time to see where the pallet started. Someone call up Doc and Marty McFly because we are about to do some serious time traveling. Great Scott!
We are going all the way back to the early 1900’s. During this time, before pallets were invented, businesses used crates, boxes, barrels and kegs to transport, move and store goods. But there was another product called a skid, and during those times, the skid acted like a pallet. But the methods of transportation and storage were not perfected with the methods being used. And then in 1920, shortly after the modern forklift was invented these skids evolved into something new, something revolutionary, the pallet. This was going to change the way that merchandise was gathered, stored and protected.
It didn’t take long for these new and innovative products to flood warehouses across the country. Now back then the pallet didn’t look like it does today. At that time pallets were made out of few boards that were fastened to stringers. This created a platform for the products to sit on. There was plenty of space underneath the pallet in order to accommodate the prongs on the forklifts. But then in 1925 a new innovation was made to the pallet. Bottom planks were added to the design and this now allowed for pallets to stack on top of one another.
Stacking now offered a newfound ease of transportation within the warehouses. Items now could be stacked higher than before, and as long as it wasn’t too much for forklifts, products could be moved in higher quantities which proved to be revolutionary because costs were now being minimized for transportation.
The pallet was proving to be a product that would be a staple for years to come. But it truly proved its worth during World War II. The usage and production skyrocketed during wartime. A 48×48 pallet became the standard between the allied countries for ease of shipment overseas. These countries were shipping massive production equipment along with heavy goods and military equipment. The products needed to be shipped and pallets offered a perfect solution.
Pallets also began popping up in small and mid sized businesses throughout North America. And then once the war had ended, pallets were now proving their worth on multiple fronts. And then in 1954 a company named Lansing Bagnall (now KION Group) developed the firs narrow aisle electric reach truck. Because of this invention the lay out and design of warehouses across the country began to change. This new design was for the better because now storage capacity was increasing, but there was a small issue. There were a variety of pallet sizes being used and this was leading to costly delays in the warehouse. Something needed to change.
And in 1968 that change was made. During this time, managers within the grocery market came together in order to solve these delay issues. They knew they needed to come up with a standard, and they did just that. Their solution: the 48×40, 4 way wood entry pallets. This pallet is the most commonly used pallet worldwide and it is known in the industry as the GPMC Pallet.
Throughout history people look at problems and try to solve them. That is how the pallet came into existence. Warehouse managers needed a more efficient way to transport and store goods and the pallet offered up a practical solution. The pallet has evolved over the years. We’ve seen the pallet go from a standard skid, to a top board only pallet, to a pallet that supported the idea of stacking, to the pallets we see all throughout businesses today. There are not only wooden pallets in the market, but plastic, metal, paper and recycled pallets as well. Sometimes users have certain needs and those needs might surpass the capability of the standard pallet.
As we come back to the future, we now know the history of the main product McIntosh Box and Pallet Company produces and manufactures. Needs of our customers are always evolving and because of that so are the pallets. McIntosh prides itself on accommodating any need that our customers may have. And we know that pallets may not be as glamorous as a shiny new iPhone X, but the product we makes allows for consumers to get those fancy new products. Pallets get the job done, no matter what. So as we hop out of the front seat of Doc’s Delorean we should thank the people who provide pallets throughout the world. McIntosh being one of those companies, we say you’re welcome. We will continue to provide you with the equipment necessary to succeed in business. Like we always say, we got your back here at McIntosh!