American Elephants

Seven Amazing Inventions to Improve Pizza Boxes. Who Knew? by The Elephant's Child
December 29, 2013, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Pop Culture | Tags: , ,

When you use the term “invention,” what comes immediately to mind? I suspect that most of us think of something big and widely celebrated, and ignore the little ‘build a better mousetrap’ kind of plebeian invention that has brought a good business and success. I don’t know just when collapsing a pop can in your fist quit being a feat of strength and aluminum cans became so light that anybody could do it. Or the stackable can that fits neatly on top of another — I wish that one were more prevalent. There is always something new popping up at the grocery store that seems useful and fresh, but doesn’t get any major notice. This article from Slate is excerpted from a book about pizza box design, beginning with “the Package Saver,” that little white plastic tripod that was patented by first-time inventor and Long Island resident Carmela Vitale in 1985. From patent 4,498,586:

A temperature-resistant molded plastic device is described for use in boxes or packages such as pizza boxes where there is a tendency of large cover portions to sag downwardly to damage the soft pizza or other packaged products.

Here is a space-saving solution for cluttered pizza-eating situations that transforms into a serving stand to free up table space that would normally be eaten up by the box’s footprint. Perforated regions of the lid fold out to connect with tabs on the side and front flaps to lift the box  base 6″ off the surface. Since the box is not losing heat by direct conduction, the pizza theoretically stays hotter longer than it would if sitting directly on a table.


Most inventions probably fall into the category of clever improvements rather than spectacular big new thing. Who would have thought that a simple pizza box could be re-invented in so many ways?  The book is: Viva la Pizza!: The Art of the Pizza Box by Scott Wiener, now out from Melville House.

Here are the boxes that are the “rest of the story:” There’s The GreenBox, Hell’s Pizza Coffin Box, The VENTIT Box, and The Pizza Hut Hot Spot.


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