Bread clip

A bread clip is a device used to hold plastic bags (such as the ones sliced bread is commonly packaged in) closed. They are also commonly called bread tags, bread tabs, bread ties, bread crimps, bread-bag clips, or (somewhat less commonly) bread climps [1]. By sealing a bag more securely than tying or folding over its open end, the clip or tie may preserve its contents longer. Sometimes the colour of the tag indicates the day on which it was baked.

There are two different types of bread clips—the common one-piece plastic clip, and a more complex mechanical clip. One particular design of bread clip is the subject of a patent[2] in the USA.

Contents

Simple bread clips

An assortment of simple bread clips

Most designs of bread clip consist of a single plastic part through which the neck of a plastic bag can be threaded. Because these bread clips, or bread tabs, are cheap, ubiquitous, and come in a variety of shapes and colours, some people collect them.

In Canada, milk is often sold by the bag; the most common format is 4 litres: three 1.33-litre sealed bags packaged in a surrounding bag. This larger bag is closed by a clip identical to a bread clip, and imprinted with the milk's expected expiration date.

Mechanical bread clips

A more complex bread clip design involves two articulated plastic parts mounted on a pivot with a spring between them to provide tension.

History

A clip sealing a bag of buns displaying a best before date.

The bread clip was invented by Floyd G. Paxton and manufactured by the Kwik Lok Corporation based in Yakima, Washington with manufacturing plants in Yakima and New Haven, Indiana. As far as Kwik Lok is concerned, both their corporation and the bread clips they make share the same name.

Floyd Paxton was known for repeatedly telling the story about how he came up with the idea of the bread clip. As he told it, he was on an airliner and opened a bag of peanuts and then realized he had no way to close up the bag. He rummaged through his wallet and found an expired credit card and hand-carved his first bag clip with his small pen knife. Of course, this was many decades ago when one could carry a pen knife onto an airplane. When a fruit packer, Pacific Fruit, wanted to replace rubber bands with a better bag closure for its new plastic bags, Paxton remembered his bag of peanuts. He hand-whittled another clip from a small sheet of Plexiglas. With an order in hand for a million clips, Paxton designed a die-cut machine to produce the clips at high speed. Despite repeated attempts, Paxton never won a U.S. Patent for his clips. He did win numerous patents for the high-speed "bag closing apparatus" that made the clips, inserted bread into bags and applied the clips for the finished product.

The bread clip was developed in the early 1950s because there was a growing need to close plastic bags on the packaging line very efficiently. Manufacturers, using more and more automation in the manufacture and packaging of food, needed methods to allow them to raise production volumes and reduce costs. At the same time a hurried (or lazy)[citation needed] population of consumers wanted a fast and easy way to open and effectively seal food bags (originally bread hence the name). The simple bread clip allowed for that. In addition, re-closability became a selling point as smaller families and higher costs slowed consumption, leading to a potential for higher rates of spoilage.

References

  1. ^ Sundby, Bertil Anne Kari Bjørge, and Kari E. Haugland. A dictionary of English normative grammar, 1700-1800. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1991, p. 431
  2. ^ US Patent 3417912

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