How The Paper Bag Was A Victory For Women!

By | March 21, 2019

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Inventor Margaret E. Knight. Source: (

Born an Inventor

Ok, so Margaret E. Knight didn’t invent the paper bag, Francis Wolle did. But Knight came up with the paper bag we know today. Knight was born in Maine in 1838 and was raised by a single mother. She had a natural ability to see a problem and invent the solution. When she was twelve she worked in a textile mill. Margaret observed an accident while at work which sparked the idea for her first real invention. She came up with a device that would automatically stop a machine if something got caught in it. By the time Margaret was a teen her invention was being used in many different mills. Because she was so young, she didn’t know anything about patents and therefore never profited from this invention.

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The Columbia Bag Company located in Springfield, MA. Source: (

Paper Bags Could be Better

Paper bags used to be more of an envelope style which created a narrow bottom. In order to have the flat bottom that we see today, the bags had to be folded by hand. It was a very tedious process therefore not profitable. Margaret Knight left her family in New Hampshire to work at the Columbia Paper Bag Company in Springfield, MA. Knight could not believe how slow the process was just to make one flat bottomed bag. She began thinking about a machine that could do the work. She sketched out a model and then began figuring out how to make a model of the machine.