Trivia

Hard

The Ubiquitous Chinese Food Takeout Container Was Actually Invented To Hold?

Fishing Bait
Construction Nails
Oysters
Taffy Chews
A Chinese takeout container filled with white rice.
Scott J. Waldron (dslrninja)/Flickr

Answer: Oysters

Across North America there is a food container so ubiquitous that even showing a roughly sketched outline of it immediately calls to mind its contents: the trapezoidal waxed paper container used by tens of thousands of Chinese restaurants.

Although the sturdy little containers have become inescapably associated with Chinese and other Asian-themed restaurants, the container is not only not Asian in origin (it was invented in the United States), but it was not even created to hold Chinese food.

The container design was originally created in the 1890s by Frederick Weeks Wilcox. His design echoes the shape of a pail, complete with a wire handle, specifically because he designed the container to serve as a cheap and mass produced substitute for wooden oyster pails. At the time of its invention, the paper container was intended to help consumers get abundant oysters home from the market and the waterproofed wax-paper container helped them do so. (Modern seafood lovers can only dream of oysters so cheap and abundant that you could take them home, already shucked, by the pail full.)

It wasn’t until after World War II when the rise of American take-out restaurants began transforming the “oyster pail” container into the “Chinese takeout” container when it was widely adopted by takeout places across the country. Decades on, the container has lost its association with the oyster industry and is now a universally recognized symbol of takeout food.

Trivia

Hard

What Video Game Had The Longest Gap Between Its First Release And Sequel?

Trivia

Easy

In The U.S. People See A Man In The Moon, But In Japan They See A?

Trivia

Hard

Which Cartoon Character Was Recolored At The Urging Of Cartoon Censors?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Actors Has Portrayed Batman In The Most Films?

Trivia

Hard

What Common Music Delivery System Was Discovered Completely By Accident?

Trivia

Hard

Vanilla Beans Are Not Beans At All But The Seed Pods Of?

Trivia

Hard

The U.S. War Department Studied Which Of These Things To Increase Transportation Efficiency?

Trivia

Hard

What Is The First (And Only) Art Installation On The Moon Called?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Men Is Considered The Father Of Public Relations?

Trivia

Hard

Which PC Game Was The First to Be Flown Into Space?