Tube (container)

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Aluminum tube
Hand washing paste in the tube

A tube (from Latin tubus 'pipe') is an elongated, solid, but malleable container that can contain pasty or viscous substances; Examples are toothpaste , adhesives , shoe polish and hair dyes, but also foods such as mustard , mayonnaise , tartar sauce and horseradish . The round tube body is now made either from plastic or 99.7% aluminum . Originally the tube body was made of tin . The is used for fillingTube filling machine .


The main advantage of the tube compared to a can or a screw- top jar is that the contents only come into contact with air or bacteria at the tip and thus last longer and do not dry out. Another advantage is the easy and precise dosing without additional aids, for example with glue, mustard or toothpaste. A disadvantage is that, due to its shape, a residual amount always remains in the tube and cannot be used.


Aluminum tubes are manufactured using the reverse extrusion process. In the case of plastic , oval shapes are also possible, but rather the exception, also due to the feel and handling. The opening of the tube is either closed with a foil (usually the case with toothpastes), or with aluminum tubes with an aluminum membrane that is pierced by a plastic spike attached to the screwed-on closure.


Drawing from the patent specification (1841)

The American painter John Goffe Rand (1801–1873) received a patent for the tube on September 11, 1841 in the USA (No. 2252), and in the same year in England (No. 8863, on pewter tubes with screw-on lids and the associated filling machine) . He was annoyed about drying paints and developed a tube of lead, because until then painters in their studios only mixed the paints immediately before use. In 1842 Rand's invention was used by artists' paint maker Winsor & Newton in England and presented at the 1851 London World's Fair. In the second half of the 19th century, tube paints achieved a cultural and historical significance that could hardly be overestimated, because they allowed the impressionists and other outdoor painters to use oil paints spontaneously and in the great outdoors without any problems. “The tubes of paint made it possible for us to paint in the great outdoors. Without them there would have been neither a Cézanne nor a Manet , not even Impressionism. ”( Auguste Renoir )

In 1892 the dentist Washington Wentworth Sheffield from New London (Connecticut, USA) sells toothpaste tubes , followed in 1908 by the German manufacturer Beiersdorf , its Pebeco toothpaste was offered in the patented Tesa tube. After the group consisting of tin produced tinfoil -Tube is around 1920 aluminum as the preferred tube material.

Plastic tubes

The plastic tube commonly used today developed around the middle of the 20th century . In the case of plastic tubes, a distinction is made, on the one hand, between seamlessly coextruded tubes and, on the other hand, laminate tubes, which are made from a film that is previously printed and later glued to form a tube. A tube press or a tube wrench can be used to almost completely empty a tube .

Web links

Wiktionary: Tube  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations
Commons : Tube  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. U.S. Patent No. 2252 to John Rand , accessed September 10, 2010.
  3. ^ Franz Maria Feldhaus: The technology. A lexicon. Munich 1970, column 1190.
  4. ^ Exhibition catalog Impressionism - Expressionism. Art turn . Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin 2015, p. 135.
  5. The product had little success, so the brand name tesa was later transferred to the company's well-known adhesive tape, according to its own presentation .