Have you ever helped a friend move only to be assigned the task of wrapping glassware in newspaper prior to boxing it? If so, have you ever wondered if newspaper really protects glassware well enough to bother? Well, rest assured that it does. We will explain why in this post. By the way, any kind of paper will work just as effectively as newspaper for protecting glassware. People have traditionally used newspaper because it is there and they would have thrown it out anyway.
It’s All about Vibration
You might wrap a piece of expensive stemware only to think to yourself that there is no way newspaper is going to protect it in the event of a crash. That may or may not be so, but the point of wrapping glassware with newspaper has nothing to do with crashing your moving truck. There’s little you can do to protect anything in the event of a serious accident.
No, the idea behind wrapping glassware in paper is to dampen road vibration. That’s the biggest danger to stemware and other glass objects. Slow, steady vibrations that result from the truck rolling down the road are responsible for most glassware damage.
The vibrations felt in the back of a moving truck are actually energy. They are energy generated by friction between the road surface and the truck’s tires. That energy is transferred into the axles, through the frame of the truck, and right into the box where the customer’s household is being carried. That energy even transfers through moving boxes and right to the contents inside.
With glassware, it is all about preventing vibrations strong enough to cause breakage. Newspaper, or any other paper for that matter, does two things in this regard. First, it prevents some of the energy from traveling into the glass by absorbing and dispersing it. Second, it provides a buffer between glass pieces so that stored energy in both will not cause them to break after making contact.
Packing Glassware in Boxes
Many people we work with are surprised at how effective glassware can be protected with the right kind of packing techniques. It starts with wrapping glassware in some sort of protective paper – be that newspaper, paper towel, or even purpose-designed packing paper. Protecting glassware also involves packing boxes correctly.
Remember, the goal here is to prevent road vibration energy from breaking glassware. The more energy we can absorb in the packing materials, the safer glassware will be. That means lining the box with paper or another energy absorbing material, placing a layer of glassware down, filling in the open spaces with more absorbing material, laying down another layer of glassware, and so on.
A fully packed box should have no empty spaces that allow for the movement of the objects inside. Filler material should separate every layer of glassware, and there should be enough distance between pieces on the same layer to accommodate a comfortable volume of filler material as well.
Yes, newspaper really can protect your glassware during a move. Just remember this: you will probably have to wash everything when you arrive at your new house. You may want to try plain packing paper or paper towel if you hope to unpack glassware that is both clean and undamaged.