Takeout boxes are iconic—we see it, and we instantly know what they mean (hint: food!). They’re also just amazing pieces of design. Because they’re cut from one piece of paper and then folded, there are no seams for liquids to seep out. You can even unfold your takeout box and transform it to a convenient plate—great for food and also storage! Takeout boxes were first patented in 1894 by Frederick Weeks Wilcox, a Chicago inventor. It wasn’t until the 1970s, however, that the iconic red pagoda (popularized in San Francisco) was added. Today, they’re everywhere—there are over 40,000 Chinese restaurants in the U.S. and the largest manufacturer of takeout boxes produces 300 million boxes each year alone.
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