ANYONE who has ordered goods online would be familiar with this layer of padding that keeps your precious purchases intact.
Many more enjoy popping the little plastic bubbles for the sheer fun of it, or as a form of stress relief.
However, was this crackly protective material originally intended to be enjoyed as a decorative accent in your home?
Believe it or not, yes. Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes invented this in 1957 by sealing two shower curtains together while trapping air bubbles between the two sheets.
They envisioned it as textured wallpaper but the idea never quite took off so they tried marketing it as a greenhouse insulator instead, with limited success.
The duo struck it big a year later, when its usefulness as protective packaging material was discovered, thanks to its shock-absorbing and abrasion-resistant properties. It is also lightweight.
The first thing it was used for? To protect the IBM 1401 computer during shipping.