The first zippered backpack was created by Gerry Cunningham, founder of the Colorado-based outdoor apparel company Gerry Outdoors. This backpack, first made with canvas, is considered to be the model for the modern school backpack. Zippered compartments allowed for better access.
Zippered backpack – cont’d
Cunningham would later replace the canvas with nylon — used extensively during WWII for parachutes and tents — which is stronger and more durable. The downside to using nylon is that some people are allergic to nylon and can develop a rash called textile dermatitis.
The backpack that popularized the item was made by the Seattle-based company JanSport in the late 1960s. It was intended for use by student hikers, but other students adapted it for carrying books and supplies.
JanSport backpack – cont’d
The bag,however, wasn’t designed to heavy books, causing physical strain on students. Eventually, the company created a sturdier bag.
Some school districts are requiring transparent backpacks because of security reasons. The first of these plastic backpacks were created in the 1960s.
Transparent backpacks – cont’d
Many plastic backpacks, however, are made with PVC, a toxic plastic with dangerous chemical additives such as cadmium and phthalates.
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