The Chinese-takeout container is an uniquely American invention. Influenced by Japanese origami folds, its patented version was called a “paper pail” – a single piece of paper, creased into segments and folded into a leakproof container secured with a dainty wire handle on top. Food can slide smoothly onto a plate due to the flat interior surface created from the supportive folds on the outside, fastened tight with the same wire
The origami box seems to have been an advance in existing “oyster pail” technology – used to be a wooden receptacle with a locked cover used in transporting raw oysters. It is nearly leakproof, 100% disposable and really inexpensive, which it makes a really cool transport device.
Fold-pak, the company behind these boxes, made adjustments for modern-day behaviors: it offers microwave safe Chinese food cartons that uses glue instead of wire and nondyed, environmentally friendly containers. In America, you just have to draw an icon of a box – and people would understand exactly what it is – and that this takeout container serves as a common denominator.