Happy 50th Birthday, Euro-Pallet!

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Half a century later, the simple wooden structure can still carry up to 1,500 pounds of weight. The pallet's look and function has never changed.

Pallet_banner.jpg

Among the world's most ubiquitous but unsung standards, the Euro-Pallet is now celebrating its 50th anniversary -- and nobody knows who thought up the specs. From Die Zeit, lightly edited from Google Translate (rough but serviceable, like the pallets themselves):

Martin Leibrandt is the managing director of the Quality Association [for] pallets in Germany.... When he took office a year ago, he was still skeptical about the object of his daily work. How exciting can such a pile of boards be? Since then, he he has become one of the convinced fans of the simple wooden structure [carrying] up to 1,500 pounds. "Think about it: how many things you are breaking, which were invented 50 years ago and still look and function just as before," says Leibrandt. "That's awesome."

Wikipedia has a great survey of palletology. See especially the section on phytosanitary compliance!

Image credit: epal-pallets.de.

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Edward Tenner is a historian of technology and culture. He was a founding advisor of Smithsonian's Lemelson Center and holds a Ph.D in European history. More

Edward Tenner is an independent writer and speaker on the history of technology and the unintended consequences of innovation. He holds a Ph.D. in European history from the University of Chicago and was executive editor for physical science and history at Princeton University Press. A former member of the Harvard Society of Fellows and John Simon Guggenheim fellow, he has been a visiting lecturer at Princeton and has held visiting research positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy. He is now an affiliate of the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. He was a founding advisor of Smithsonian's Lemelson Center, where he remains a senior research associate.

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