Paper Mart bubble wrap plays a big role as packaging material for sensitive and fragile products. Bubble wrap was born in Hawthorne, New Jersey when two engineers Alfred Fielding and Mark Chavannes fused together two plastic shower curtains with pockets of air in between forming a textured pattern. After their unsuccessful attempts to offer the invention as an insulation material and wallpaper, they finally settled for shipping wrap and founded Sealed Air Corp.
Sealed Air Corp. got its first big break when International Business Machines Corp. used it as a cushioning material for its computer equipment. For two decades, the bubble wrap became a very popular packaging material until other alternatives popped up. Bubble wrap only accounted for less than 2% of the $7.8 billion sales of Sealed Air last year.
However, the non-packaging life of bubble wrap remained vibrant because fashion designers started to use the packaging material in jackets, hats and wedding dresses. Last May more than 700 students, teachers and staff from West Scranton Intermediate School sat should-to-shoulder on the gym floor to burst the bubbles on the packaging material for 2 minutes. They were able to set a world record for the number of people popping bubbles.
Less than three weeks later, their record was broken by 942 poppers in a school in Elk River, Minn. The bubble wrap was laid on the grounds of the school parking lot and the participants were advised to pop the bubbles by stomping in addition to snapping with the fingers. However, their glory was fleeting because another school, Oral Roberts University broke the record with 1,011 participants.
The irresistible urge to pop the bubbles has morphed into a highly contested mass participation to record that is certified by Guinness Book of World Records.
YouTube videos on bubble wrap exploits have become viral including one that earned Los Angeles comedy magician Eric Buss induction in last year’s Sealed Air’s Bubble Wrap’s Hall of Fame. Mr. Buss was able to create a torrent of rapid-fire snaps when he attached a 12-inch wide roll of the bubble wrap into a homemade reel that he bolted in the front of a BMX bike. Simple though it seems, popping requires a plan to break world records.