Mystery or history?
If you’ve been looking for storage on the Euroffice website, you might have come across ‘bankers boxes’ – but how did they get their name?
From what I can tell, in October 1913 the US government introduces income tax. It covers individuals and corporations. In 1914 the Bureau of Internal Revenue creates a tax form for people to fill in and send back for checking. Businesses have to keep written records for the tax man.
A Chicagoan called Walter Nickel sees an opportunity. He starts making and selling ‘bankers boxes’ – corrugated filing boxes for all the tax records that people need to store. Walter works next door to Harry L Fellowes, a tailor with an entrepreneurial spirit but little formal education.
In 1917 Walter gets called up for WWI. Harry the tailor seizes the moment, buys all of his friend’s boxes for $50 and starts the Bankers Box Company. (He and Walter would later rename their product to the patriotic-sounding Liberty Box.)
Harry’s business goes from strength to strength. In 1983 the company is renamed Fellowes Manufacturing. In 1990 it releases the first personal shredder. In 2014, now world-famous for office products, Fellowes is still selling its bankers boxes.
And that’s how they got their name.