Monday, December 24, 2012

Wrapper's Delight

Just in case you were wondering.

From The Atlantic...
But where did the wrapping tradition come from? The short answer is that wrapping, as a practice, has been around for ages. The Japanese furoshiki, the reusable wrapping cloth still in use today, is a pretty faithful rendition of the version that's been around since the Edo period. The Korean bojagi dates from the Three Kingdoms Period, possibly as early as the first century A.D. In the west, using paper as a covering for gifts has been a longstanding, if largely luxury-oriented, practice: Upper-class Victorians regularly used elaborately decorated paper -- along with ribbons and lace -- to conceal gifts.

In 1917, however, in the U.S. decorative paper became democratized. A pair of brothers running a stationery store in Kansas City, Mo., were having an exceptionally good holiday season -- so good, in fact, that they ran out of their standard inventory of tissue paper. Not wanting to be hampered by their success, but needing a replacement for the sold-out paper, they found among their supplies a stack of "fancy French paper" -- paper meant not for display, but for lining envelopes. Figuring, "hey, why not," they put that paper in a showcase, setting its price at $0.10 a sheet. And the paper sold out -- "instantly," Mental Floss notes.

By 1919, having confirmed that the lining sheets' sales weren't a fluke, the pair began producing and selling their own printed paper -- decorative, and designed for the sole purpose of wrapping gifts.

The brothers? Joyce and Rollie Hall. Their store? Hallmark.

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