How Are Toothpaste Tubes Filled?
To get toothpaste out of the tube to brush your teeth, you squeeze the tube. But how does the toothpaste get inside the tube? The secret is that a toothpaste tube is filled from the bottom, not from the top.
At the toothpaste factory, hundreds of empty toothpaste tubes stand upside down on a long moving tray. As each toothpaste tube passes beneath a filling spout, just the right amount of toothpaste squirts out to fill the tube. After the tube has been filled with toothpaste, the bottom of the tube is pinched together and sealed shut.
The tube also gets a code stamped on it indicating where and when it was manufactured. After tubes are filled, they are inserted into open paperboard boxes. Some companies do this by hand. The boxes are cased and shipped to warehouses and stores. Each batch of ingredients is tested for quality as it is brought into the factory. The testing lab also checks samples of final product.
Modern toothpaste was invented to aid in the removal of foreign particles and food substances, as well as clean the teeth. When originally marketed to consumers, toothpaste was packaged in jars. Chalk was commonly used as the abrasive in the early part of the twentieth century.
Sheffield Labs claims it was the first company to put toothpaste in tubes. Washington Wentworth Sheffield’s son, Lucius, studied in Paris, France, in the late nineteenth century. Lucius noticed the collapsible metal tubes being used for paints. He thought putting the jar-packaged dentifrice in these tubes would be a good idea.
Needless to say, it was adopted for toothpaste, as well as other pharmaceutical uses. The Colgate-Palmolive Company also asserts that it sold the first toothpaste in a collapsible tube in 1896. The product was called Colgate Ribbon Dental Creme. In 1934, in the United States, toothpaste standards were developed by the American Dental Association’s Council on Dental Therapeutics. They rated products on the following scale: Accepted, Unaccepted, or Provisionally Accepted.
Packaging toothpaste in pumps and stand-up tubes was introduced during the 1980s and marketed as a neater alternative to the collapsible tube. In 1984, the Colgate pump was introduced nationally, and in the 1990s, stand-up tubes spread throughout the industry, though the collapsible tubes are still available.