Thursday, March 21, 2019

Box Shooks

Up until the 1950s the box that held any product from soap to fruit to seafood was wooden.  Almost half of the output of a lumber mill was for box shooks.  Shooks were the slats or boards that are required to staple or nail together to make  a box.

Some Fruit, vegetable, berries, nuts etc were packed into a basket, others however required a box.  Since baskets were cone shape they could be nested into one another and were compact for shipping by train or boat.  Boxes however were straight sided and could only be stacked on top of one another  Very few could be put into a box car and shipped at a reasonable freight cost.  The answer was to ship a knocked down box much like Ikea does today with furniture.  Just the boards were shopped and the box was assembled at the seafood plant, or orchard or packing shed. 

above box shooks being stacked in warehouse

wooden boxes had the advantage that they could be recycled into other uses from kindling to barn shed construction.   Much like returning pallets to the manufacturer today, the cost to return empty boxes was prohibitive.

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