History of Pallets


Hope Timber Pallet & Recycling recognizes pallets serve many purposes and are utilized across various industries. Whether used for shipping and transportation, manufacturing, storage or retail, pallets play a major role in our economy. However, have you ever considered the origins of this natural resource?

Pallets can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where pallet-like prototypes were used to elevate and transport goods. But the “pallet” we know today took a bit more time to develop.

Fathers of the pallet

“An invention is not complete until the public knows it exists.” –Alexander Graham Bell

According to Packaging Revolution, although pallet-like prototypes were used hundreds of years prior, George Raymond and Bill House were credited as the “Fathers of the pallet” after receiving the patent in the 1930s. The pallet invented in the 1930s distinguished itself from skids used since ancient Egyptian times. This is because after the invention of the forklift, pallets were adapted to suit the modern machine.

Packaging Revolution also notes trade publications as early as 1930 made references to pallets, reinforcing the idea that pallets have played a crucial role in logistics for a longer period than credited for.

WW2 pallet standardization

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” –Plato

Although pallets today can come in hundreds of sizes, the most common pallet dimensions (35% being 48” x 40”, as well as 42” x 42”, 48” x 48”) help eliminate waste and ensure efficiency across various industries. Nature’s Packaging attributes pallet standardization to WW2, where material handling strategy was directed from a high organizational level.

Nature’s Packaging explains, “War-related wood pallet usage exploded, but an overabundance of pallet sizes made it hard to know if receiving plants would have the necessary material handling equipment to handle inbound pallets.” Pallet sizes were attributed to each branch, the Navy and Army choosing 48” x 48” and the Quartermaster Corps choosing 32” x 40”, 46” x 48” and 48” x 60”. Thus, standardized pallet dimensions were introduced to ensure compatibility with material sizes.

According to Packaging Revolution, additional refinements made to the pallet industry during WW2 include pallet reuse in supply chains.

Pallets today

Hope Timber’s history with pallets began when CEO, Tom Harvey, started selling prepackaged firewood. Today, the family business consists of three distinct companies: Hope Timber Pallet & Recycling, Hope Timber Mulch and Hope Timber Garden & Vintage.

Pallets serve many industries, and so can we. We continuously aim to unlock the potential of this natural resource and fulfill our customers every need with our many services.

As a green company, we fully acknowledge the significance of this natural resource and aim to preserve it for the future. Sustainability lies at the core of our values, as our services include pallet recycling, remanufacturing, yard waste recycling, pallet-to-mulch practices and more.

Pallets have been crucial in logistics for centuries, and we are committed to ensuring their utilization in our economy for many more years to come.

Contact Hope Timber today and let us fulfill all your pallet needs!

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