Minnesota Freezer Warehouse Company (MFWC) has been operating as a global climate-controlled warehouse storage provider since 1919. Our long history in the industry means we’ve been able to witness years of developments in warehouse technology and practices, and we continue to implement these evolutions into our own quality warehouses. Today, we process thousands of goods daily to provide food-grade warehouse storage and help get nutritious products to communities worldwide. Our team of dedicated employees works together to import, store, and export goods in warehouse storage in Austin, MN, and Albert Lea, MN, totaling 5.35 million cubic feet. While we have grown to the scale we work at today, our history as a company has been more than 100 years, and through that time, a century of warehouse history also passed by.
The history of warehouse storage goes much farther back than MFWC’s own story, and there are many interesting facts about the ways humans have tried, failed, or succeeded in storing bulk goods. Here are four fun facts about the history of warehouse storage:
- Warehouse storage was built underground in ancient China, where the soil was sandy and easy to excavate. The Ancient Chinese dug storage tunnels and caves to keep goods in climate-controlled conditions and safe from rain, sun, and other elements. Food goods and other more delicate items were often packaged in containers that were dipped in wax to waterproof them.
- One of the most useful tools in warehouse storage practices, the pallet, was invented in 1930 by Hollywood character actor Eugene Pallette. The idea came to him on a Los Angeles River tour, and he rushed home to draw a design. He then built a prototype and sold the idea to warehouse management companies in California.
- In 1969, Japan opened the world’s first fully autonomous warehouse. Leaders in creating effective industrial practices like Toyota’s lean manufacturing, Japanese engineers worked to innovate a fully automated warehouse with robotic equipment, data recorders, and conveyor systems. Human workers were only involved in the delivery of goods to and from the building.
- Some of the first-ever warehouses were granaries used to store excess grains and other food products that would be needed during times of famine or winter months. Without the development of agricultural practices and the growth of ancient global populations, granaries would have never been created, and some of the first food-grade warehouse storage designs would never have been made.
Warehouse designs have significantly improved even from the 1990s, but they have especially advanced from the ancient granaries. While old-style warehouses and even traditional granaries are still used in some areas of the world, the industrial production of goods and the demand of a huge global population requires the use of today’s highly efficient large-scale storage warehouses.