Wooden barrels have been used for the transportation and storage of goods for around 2000 years. Cooperage developed along with the growth and evolution of trade. Ancient civilizations like the Egyptians had been experimenting with open-ended wood and reed vessels held together with wood bands long before, but it was not until the refinement of iron processing technology that the crafting of barrels could be reliable. The Celts’ are credited with the development of the barrel around the beginning of the first millennium. The Celts shipbuilding and iron working skills were critical to the development of the barrel. Soon after, the Romans capitalized on the invention to store their own goods, and distributed the technology and the goods throughout their vast trade routes.
I found it fascinating that when I was in college and people asked what I was studying they were surprised that I was studying WOOD. I got responses like “what are you going to do with that?” or “will you be able to get a job?” Since then I’ve made it a mission to enlighten people about what can be done with wood, what has been done with wood, and the science behind working with wood. These are the inspiration for the Application + Wood, History + Wood, and Science + Wood series. Hope you enjoy!
For articles by Kyle Newman.