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The world isn’t nearly so static as you might think. Things that are commonplace now weren’t so typical fifty, one hundred or even one hundred fifty years ago. Popular history often forgets this fact but it’s so, so true. Things such as road design and building architecture might seem like they’ve always been a certain way but they’ve actually changed so much in the last century. The question of how did they change, exactly, is an interesting one as well. It’s complicated but it has a series of intriguing answers that all mesh together in different ways. Often times these styles and designs that structure our society were put together through sheer practicality, other times through inertia and ineptitude. Sometimes these inventions are even created for more noble reasons, such as safety or humanitarian concerns. They are often subtle as well and include whole categories of inventions you might not even think of. For example, the checkweigher machine, packaging machines and food metal detectors are all inventions you might never had heard of but they’ve changed the face of society for the better. How exactly did this come about? Read on and find out.
- Going back to the beginning
To understand a little about the importance of the checkweigher machine, food packaging and food safety, we’re going to need go back into the annals of recorded and prerecorded history. This latter category especially since it was in prerecorded history that most of our history takes place. For most of the times that humans have existed on this planet, we have been hunters and gatherers. It took millions of years to break us of this habit and it wasn’t always easy. During these formative years of foraging and hunting, we did what we could do and only what we could do. Hunting was the most lucrative of the food gathering processes but it was difficult and required both men and women to be away from the tribe for long periods of time. Gathering was a little easier but it also involved making decisions about what plants and berries were alright to eat and which ones were going to be poisonous to everyone. Food was plentiful but it wasn’t easy to obtain or process. It was also scarcer in some ways than it is today as hunter and gathering societies require a lot of land to maintain stability and, judging by the mass extinctions that occurred near the end of this period, we didn’t manage that sustainability too well.
Safety and processing
So where and how did we go from these basic food issues to our system of packaging and the checkweigher machine? Well, to start, we have to answer the basic question of why we made the change at all and how long it took. Hunting and gathering is all well and good but it doesn’t ensure food quality at all. Even cooked meat, when not treated properly, can sustain bacteria, viruses and parasites that can be a nuisance at best and start a plague at worst. The beginning of this revolution occurred with the rise of agriculture and recorded history where we were able to keep a closer eye on our food stocks and make sure they were well cared for. It worked well enough but it still had some basic issues. For one, large groups of animals together are still prone to bouts of disease. For another, planted crops can easily be wiped out by large storms. So what did we do?
The rise of plastic and invention
The short answer to that question is effectively nothing for thousands of years. It might seem like a bit of silly answer but it honestly took a long time for us humans to get to a point where we had the ability to protect our food sources from these problems. The best we had was animal husbandry which was supposed to help boost the immune systems of our herds. It wasn’t until the industrial revolution that we had the ability to start sealing our food and weighing it using the checkweigher machine. This safety revolution was both incredibly important and underrated.