Believe it or not, this last Monday of January is dedicated to the addictive packing material Bubble Wrap.
The rows of air-filled pockets in roll form were introduced as a packing material in the 1960s. According to Sealed Air Corporation, its original intention was a textured wall paper, but when that idea — and other uses — failed, they eventually marketed it as shipping cushions.
“Since those early days, Bubble Wrap has earned raving friends and fans the world over. Its barrier-sealed bubbles are unparalleled in their protection,” Sealed Air Corporation’s history about the product states. “Its therapeutic value is, well… perfectly palliative. And its perennial ability to entertain people of all ages is positively pop-tastic.”
That’s right: Studies have been done to confirm that there is in fact a “therapeutic value” to popping bubble wrap. In 2010, on the 50th anniversary of Bubble Wrap, The New York Times pointed to a 1992 study published in the journal Psychological Reports by Kathleen Dillon, a psychology professor, that found pressing the bubbles and releasing the air is a stress reliever:
Dr. Dillon said that if a book arrives wrapped in Bubble Wrap, “I have to pop all the bubbles.”
“I’m not alone,” she said. “It’s compulsive. I’ve seen secretaries fighting for it — ‘Give me that.’ It’s obviously something that’s desirable and addictive at some level.”
In 2011, Wired’s physics guru Rhett Allain even mathematically figured out how much Bubble Wrap one would have to roll around oneself in order to survive a fall from the sixth floor of a building.
“I am going to go with 39 layers of Bubble Wrap. Should you actually do this? No. Don’t do this. Well, I guess you could do this with a dummy or something,” Allain wrote.
Now, for your Bubble Wrap viewing pleasure:
Here’s a school setting a mass bubble popping record:
Check out this Bubble Wrap bike …”jealous much?”:
Babies love it when bubbles are popped too:
Nothing like Bubble Wrap on the sidewalk:
If you want to pop now but don’t have any of Bubble Wrap on hand, there is a $0.99 iPhone app to help satisfy your urge.