In the pecking order of packing materials, Bubble Wrap falls somewhere in the middle—above polystyrene peanuts, with their mess of static cling, but below environmentally friendly options like cornstarch packaging. But Bubble Wrap still reigns supreme when it comes to one thing: the delight factor that comes with finding it wrapped around shipped valuables, its air bubbles waiting to be popped. Bubble Wrap wasn’t originally intended for packaging. In 1957, New Jersey–based engineers Alfred W. Fielding and Marc Chavannes threw something at the wall—literally—and it didn’t quite stick. After sealing a set of shower curtains, they grew excited by the ensuing air bubble–filled sheets of plastic and decided to market them as of-the-moment interior decor—meaning Bubble Wrap began as wallpaper. When that venture failed, they switched to pawning it off as greenhouse insulation—which turned out to be another misstep. They This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-One Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.