Ready ... Shreddy ... Go: A History of the Cardboard Shredder!

Ready ... Shreddy ... Go: A History of the Cardboard Shredder!

, by Maeve Reidy, 5 min reading time

Believe it or not, the Cardboard Shredder was invented in the 1900s! Curious about how the Cardboard Shredder was invented?

The story of the Cardboard Shredder starts with the Paper Shredder ...

The prolific American inventor Abbot Augustus Low patented the idea of a "waste paper receptacle" on 31st August 1909, however the device was not refined enough to ever be mass-produced. He had intended it to be used in banks and other financial institutions, but Gus Low (as he preferred to be known) died in 1912 at the age of 68, having never got it into mass production. Interestingly, when he died, the only other inventor to have more invention patents was Thomas Edison!

Details of Patent for Gus Low's "paper receptacle"
Details of Gus Low's 1909 Patent for a "waste paper receptacle"

In Germany, in 1935, Adolf Ehinger, a toolmaker and repairer, was questioned about anti-Nazi propaganda documents found on his property. Secretly he was printing anti-Nazi propaganda, so he knew that he would have to find a better way to destroy the documents and during his research into the problem, came across Gus Low's invention. Ehinger's creation was based on a pasta machine, with a wooden frame to hold a sheet of paper, which was shredded one page at a time. By the 1940s he had refined the design with the addition of a motor to power it ... and sold these machines back to the Nazi Party who, by that stage, were desperate to find a way to destroy the paperwork relating to their nefarious activities!

Adolf Ehinger's paper shredder
Adolf Ehinger's 1935 paper-shredding machine


Ehinger set up a company, EBA Maschinenfabrik, with which he manufactured the world’s first cross-cut paper shredders. By 1959 fully motorised paper shredders were being used by financial and government institutions. But it was only in 1973, with the Watergate Scandal in America that paper shredders came properly to the notice of the general public. and it wasn't until the 1980s that paper shredders started to appear in general businesses, who wanted a secure way to destroy sensitive business documents. Ehinger's company exists to this day in Balingen, Germany. It changed its name to EBA Krug & Priester GmbH & Co and is one of the most trusted paper shredder manufacturers in the world.


waste cardboard in bin

By the 1970s and 1980s, people were starting to think about the environmental impact of the waste they sent to landfill or incineration. Manufactured corrugated cardboard boxes had been in use since at least 1908, but the concept of recycling them was virtually unknown. However, cardboard manufacturers worked to discover how to incorporate existing/used cardboard when manufacturing cardboard, thereby reducing valuable natural resources previously used. These days, most manufactured cardboard incorporates pre-existing cardboard. Around the same time, waste processing facilities started to use exceedingly large cardboard shredders and cardboard balers to reduce the amount of space the fully-formed cardboard boxes would ordinarily take up.

Back then, we all thought we were so futuristic, forward-thinking and environmentally friendly!

Meanwhile in Germany, some time in the 1990s, Jürgen Degen was (possibly) looking at the beautiful natural surroundings at Lake Constance. He (possibly, he's a very private man, as are all inventors!) may have thought that if businesses had all those used cardboard boxes that delivered their products, then rather than having to send the used cardboard boxes to landfill, businesses might like to shred the cardboard themselves, and maybe even use the resulting (highly effective!) voidfill themselves. 

cushionpack cardboard shredder

And so, CushionPack GmbH came into being in 1995 with a range of cardboard shredder machines that expanded and refined the idea of a paper shredder but could instead cope with much thicker cardboard. And not only that, the cardboard shredder machines are small enough that pretty much any business who has to bale cardboard or devote a specific area within their warehouse can dispose of their balers and/or bins and instead use this neat and tidy cardboard shredder to create their own (free!) voidfill!

Box Depot are very pleased to be able to offer CushionPack Cardboard Shredders across Ireland. With a wide range of models, there is sure to be a Cardboard Shredder that is perfect for every business!

These days, cardboard shredder machines are extremely affordable. And Box Depot also offer extremely competitive leasing options from as little as €12 per week. Not only that, the very helpful team at Box Depot could even let you try a demo model in your own premises, to see exactly what a great decision you'll make by getting one!

Now that you know the amazing history of how the Cardboard Shredder came into existence, why not take advantage of this extremely innovative and eco-friendly invention ... our team at Box Depot will be more than happy to assist you in choosing your perfect Cardboard Shredder!


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