The History of Pallets

The History of Pallets

History of Pallets – Delivery for Business

Even though we do not realise it, we see pallets almost everywhere – inside or outside of the grocery stores, in supermarkets, and so on. Basically, we see them in almost every place that relies, at a certain point, on product delivery and/or storage.

In short, a pallet delivery company is not the only one that makes use of these pallets. One can use them to either display or store items and such. Therefore, even though it doesn’t seem like, these items are quite fascinating and that their history is worth talking about.

So, in today’s article, we’ll be doing just that – we’ll introduce you to the history of pallets!

From Skids to Pallets

Before skids evolved into pallets, a variety of other recipients, so to say, were used to transport items – such as wooden crates, barrels, kegs, boxes, as well as skids.

However, in the early 1920’s, when the modern forklift was invented, the skids evolved into pallets. The concept behind a pallet was to have an area for the products to sit on as well as an area underneath the pallet itself that could accommodate and facilitate the use of a forklift.

In this respect, boards were fastened to stringers, thus creating both the product platform as well as the space meant for the forklift’s prongs.

A couple of years later, in 1925, bottom planks were added to the initial design. These extra planks made stacking possible and, because of this, products were able to be stacked, stored, and moved with increased versatility and speed.

Pallets During the War

In the 1940s, the 4-way entry for pallets was developed, increasing forklift accessibility. At the same time, people were experiencing with alternative material pallets.

As expected, the demand and popularity of pallets increased during World War 2 – they had to be mass-produced in order to deliver the necessary goods to the battlefield or such. This demand also brought the need for a standard pallet size – 48×48 at the time – that was established between allied countries so that it would be easier to ship and transport the pallets.

However, pallets and forklifts did not become popular because of their demand in the war. Reportedly, pallets were used by thousands of small to medium-sized businesses in North America – in 1941, roughly 25,000 forklift trucks were used in the U.S.

A Pallet World

In 1954, a British company named Lansing Bagnall developed what is now known as the first narrow aisle electric reach truck. This also changed the warehouses’ design, which featured narrow aisles as well as higher load stacking, thus increasing storage capacity.

In order to better optimise the conversion from rail to truck transport, pallet size was switched from the 40×48’’ stringer pallet to the 48×40’’ pallet.

A while later, in 1968, as a result of a meeting between the distribution managers of several Canadian grocery companies, the GPMC pallet was born – the 48×40 four-way entry wood pallet, a standard pallet for interchange.

How’s the pallet industry doing today?

Well – roughly 450 million pallets are produced in North America every single year and around 1.9 billion pallets are in use at any given time. So, one thing’s for sure – a pallet courier will never be short on pallets!

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