Do You Know The History of Wooden Pallets?

digitalengage blog November 15, 2022 0 Comments

Wooden pallets act as great apparatuses for storage purposes of heavy-weighted objects. People have been using them for 80 years to transport goods. If you have ever visited any warehouse, then you must have seen a flat wooden surface with slits that can carry tons of weight without breaking. Wooden pallets have been an essential item in the domain of storage and transport of goods. Want to know more about wooden pallets and how they became a commodity? Dive into the history of wooden pallets with us!

Wooden pallets are being used since ancient history by movers and construction workers. They have proved to make the transportation of goods easier and simpler. There have been many efforts to introduce a much easier way for the transportation of goods, but it can’t get any better than this. Wooden pallets are highly durable and sturdy and are also very easy to produce. They are also very safe for the environment.

20th Century

Before the 20th century, ancient practices of transportation of goods involved using “Skids” These were flat surfaces on which people would load their goods and drag them using ropes to move it one place to another. After some modernization, these surfaces were given wheels that made it easier to drag when there was heavy weight loaded on the skids.

They were made by joining a few planks of solid wood together, supported by narrow wooden slits at the bottom. Having narrow slits at the bottom made it easy to slide. The pyramids we see in Egypt have been constructed with the help of skids. Heavy rocks and concrete blocks would be loaded onto the skids and ten to fifteen people would pull it from the front using ropes. However, this was a very hectic and tiring method adopted in ancient Egypt but with the passage of time and the introduction of technology, new advancements were made.

The 1920s to 1930s Period

After people were introduced to simpler ideas of carrying heavy-weighted objects, an innovation was made. This was the era of pallet jacks. It was understood that if a heavy weight is put on one side of a plank and the right amount of fulcrum is used, then the heavyweight could be easily moved. This was not a very successful invention but within a few years, the pallet jack design took birth. This apparatus could be used to easily pick up skids and transport them effortlessly. However, there were some complications regarding the weight of the goods since extremely heavy objects could not be lifted using that.

People at that time still found this apparatus very useful and began to make it much more effective and useful. Soon enough the pallet jack was given a sturdier design and enough power to move relatively heavy weights.

By the end of the 1930s, the forklift was introduced that was capable of lifting and transporting goods at fairly greater distances.

World War II

When world war II took its place in history, the production and use of wooden pallets increased. Before World War II, pallets were not that commonly used in industries. Therefore, when the war began the requirement and use of pallets increased and pallet production also hiked in numbers. This was because the military logistics strategy included delivering heavy-weighted goods that mainly included ammunition and ration.

During the war, The United States of Quartermaster General conducted a study to analyze the most time-efficient methods of transporting such goods needed by the troops. After enough research, it was concluded that forklifts and wooden pallets would be the best solution to their problem. Hence after this finding, the production of wooden pallets took a hike and they became very common. Since plastic pallets and metal pallets were not a success in this regard, the US government opted for wooden pallets instead of the other materials.

Post War Era

After world war II, everyone realized the importance of wooden pallets. Companies and industries had tried other materials but none of them served their purposes, as well as the wooden pallet design did. This was the time when a disposable pallet design was introduced into the market. This was a very basic design that could be disposed of after its use. Lesser costs were put into the production of these disposable pallets and they proved to be immensely beneficial to the industrial world.


A four-way pallet design was also introduced in this era that offered more mobility and ease of access. It provided openings from all four sides of the structure where the forklift trucks could lift them up. The necessity of having different pallet sizes was also discovered in this era as many industrial businesses did not have enough space for storage, so they opted for a rather smaller size of wooden pallets.

Pallets in Today’s World

Pallet production has become a thriving business in today’s world. Wood pallets are encouraged and used by almost every business you can think of. The modern forklift design has also changed in that can lift weights to 70,000 pounds. This has been a great achievement for mankind since it has made the process of storage and transportation of goods effortless. You can also paint pallets and use them for other purposes.

International Trade

International trade that is being conducted these days would not have been possible without the invention of wooden pallets. The design is so practical that it can easily fit into airplanes, ships, and even trains. Disposable pallets are used in international trade since they are much cheaper and have a lot to offer.

Pallet Jack

Some useful inventions from the past like the pallet jack have also been given new and more durable designs. The new pallet jack design is capable of lifting to 2500kgs of weight easily. Industries with warehouses that are smaller in area use pallet jacks to accommodate their storage and transportation needs.

Computer Software Advancements

Computer software has also advanced a lot. With the help of advancing technology, companies are able to increase the lifting capacity of these apparatuses to a greater extent. Forklift operators are able to do their tasks better than ever before with the help of software updates. Almost everything these days is either automated or aided by technology in several different ways.

How Technology is Changing The Wooden Pallet Industry

Technology has been a great source of innovation and creating ease in every process of our lives. The industrial sector has also benefited from technology a lot. When it comes to wooden pallet production. Although, the plastic pallet design was not much of a success as compared to the wooden pallet design because of its fragility new renovations are being made. For instance, the modern four-way pallet design has become very common in the industrial business because of its practicality.

A better communication system has also been incorporated into the modern wood pallet industry. As employees have to be in constant communication with each other about orders, communication tools such as voice command have been introduced to the lift truck platform which has proved to be remarkable. Due to the advanced communication advancements that are now seen in the pallet industry, customer services have also been enhanced.

A drastic change in the number of production wastes is seen after software advancements. The production process of wooden pallets has become easier.

Design software has helped innovators to come up with effective ways to increase the production and life-span of wooden pallets as well as to incorporate better communication tools.

Heat-treatment for wooden pallets is also only possible due to the advancements in technology.


If you’re searching for resilient and enduring wooden pallet manufacturers in East Tennessee, you’ve come to the right place. We have accumulated 40 years of successful experience and customer satisfaction, and we provide you with top-notch services and wood products. Unaka Forest Products has an exceptional product range that caters to your unique requirements and preferences, whether wooden pallets, precut lumber, biofuel chips, or landscape mulch. We also sell organic wooden mulch, precut lumber, and biofuel. Contact us today for the best quality wooden pallets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *