Museum Piece

POPPING THE BUBBLE WRAP that came with your birthday gift? Stop! You may be destroying a collectible. Sealed Air Corporation’s Bubble Wrap® cushioning is one of the items featured in “Humble Masterpieces,” an exhibit running April 8-Sept. 27 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Featuring about 120 items, the exhibit pays homage to such unassuming but highly useful everyday objects as cellophane tape, Band-Aids, cookie cutters, flashlights, and egg cartons. Although often used as a generic term, Bubble Wrap is a trademarked material created (in a garage, of course) in 1960 by engineers Marc Chavannes and Alfred Fielding, who founded Sealed Air Corp. Originally designed to be a textured wallpaper treatment, the air cellular material found a better home in packaging, where it fast replaced traditional fillers such as wadded paper. The technology generated several other air cellular products, such as PolyCap® cushioning and Bubblebags® pouches. And yes, it has many “creative” uses as well.