The History of Pallets

The pallet.

It’s one of those creations we are affected by on a daily basis, even if we don’t think about.  Our groceries, our clothes, and our appliances are all shipped on them.  There are stacks of them sitting within and behind some of our favorite stores.

And yet, do you ever stop to appreciate how great of an invention the pallet is?  Here at Murray MH, we have a special fondness for pallets.  Maybe it’s because we building some great pallet racking.

Or maybe it’s just because pallets are so fantastic.

Either way, this love for pallets has caused us to dig a bit deeper into their creation.  So, in case you’ve ever wondered where the pallet comes from, here is your answer.

World Wars and the Second Industrial Revolution

The exact creation of the pallet is a bit of a mystery.  However, the event that arguably birthed this invention was the Second Industrial Revolution.  This period of innovation began with the arrival of Bessemer steel in the 1860′s.

It was during this second revolution that would bring about mass production, automobiles, mass availability of electricity, and global corporations such as GE and Bayar AG.

As more materials were being produces, more inventory was being shipped and stored.  There was a need for better handling of goods.

There was a need for a pallet.

The true inventor isn’t fully known.  It’s quite possible that objects similar to pallets were created in multiple locations around this time.  What we do know is the two men who patented the pallet in the US.

Their names are George Raymond and Bill House.

These two men were also granted a patent for a lift truck on the same day.  Essentially a fork lift.

Indeed, the fork lift and the pallet’s histories are very much intertwined as they essentially complete each other.  While it was the Second Industrial Revolution that lead to a need for both of these, it was World War 1 and 2 that made them an industry main icon.

The World Wars mobilized our country’s industrial sector like never before.  With people from sea to shining sea working to produce materials for the war, pallets became an irreplaceable object in the factory world.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

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