Designing Woman

12.26.133:53 PM ET

The Bag That Launched 1,000 Lunches

In 1871, Margaret E. Knight helped birth a design classic.

Could this classic, flat-bottom paper bag be the most important, influential object ever conceived by a woman? In MoMA’s show called "Designing Modern Women", the 1871 patent for the machine to make it is credited to one Margaret E. Knight, working at the  Union Paper Bag Machine Company, in Philadelphia. More eyes must have settled on such a bag than have ever taken in the Mona Lisa or Michelangelo’s David. And could you carry your lunch to school if all you had to wrap it was a Monet?

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