Who invented the bread clip?
Hi, so if you've been following my Daily Doodles, you can see a few of the days are more "simple" than others... it's going to be one of those days... You see, apparently I forgot to pack my doodle signature for my day trip, and I'm not getting back home until LATE... (and I'm on the back end of the signature, so I can't just add a different piece of paper even if I had the same type of paper in my bag... which I do). And normally I write my blog post after my doodle because that just makes sense since I can change my mind at any minute on what I'm actually going to doodle... but not tonight... All I will have time for is a QUICK doodle... so why not feature the Kwik Lok? Or the more well-known moniker, the bread clip!
Floyd Paxton is the genius behind these fun and functional pieces of plastic. A second generation manufacturing engineer, he worked beside his father producing nail machines during World War II. Prior to the post-war plastics boom, both Paxton and his father produced, among other things, the nails used to close wooden boxes of fruit. So really, package sealing was in Paxton’s blood.
As the story goes, the idea for the bread clip came to Paxton during a flight in 1952. While he was on the plane, Floyd Paxton was eating a package of complimentary nuts, and realized he didn’t have a way to close them. As a solution, he took out a pen knife and hand-carved the first "bread clip" out of a credit card (hopefully it was expired, or he might be in trouble).
As the use of polyethylene bags to package fruit, along with other foods rapidly increased, Paxton realized he’d invented a cheap, reusable solution to sealing open-ended bags. His simple invention required minimal dexterity to operate and did not require stressing the piece, allowing it to rival twist-ties and sticker tags currently in use.
Paxton established the Kwik Lok Corporation in 1954. Founded in Yakima, Washington, their beginnings are humble and their company is still family owned and operated. They quickly set out to popularize the tabs (now known officially as Kwik Lok Closures) by using them to close bags of apples (instead of nailing the crates like they used to).
Kwik Lok continued to grow over the decades as did demand for their little clips, which became popularly known as “bread clips” or “bread tabs.” Paxton eventually began developing new packaging machinery, including ones to manufacture Kwik Lok Closures, and one to put them on the bags automatically, which they say they still sell to bakeries. Kwik Lok secured a patent early into their origins and is still one of the world's only company manufacturing bread clips. Without giving specific numbers, Kwik Lok says that they sell an almost unimaginable number each year. “It’s in the billions,” says Leigh Anne Whathen, a sales coordinator for the company.
I know it wasn't meant for this use, but these little buggers are also awesome as a flinging object if they happen to break in half... way more fun, and more safe, than a wad of paper and rubber band... So thank you to the late Floyd Paxton, I appreciate his genius during an idle moment on an airplane.