Box (plural: boxes) describes a variety of containers and receptacles for permanent use as storage, or for temporary use, often for transporting contents.
Boxes may be made of durable materials such as wood or metal, or of corrugated fiberboard, paperboard, or other non-durable materials. The size may vary from very small (e.g., a matchbox) to the size of a large appliance. A corrugated box is a very common shipping container. When no specific shape is described, a box of rectangular cross-section with all sides flat may be expected, but a box may have a horizontal cross section that is square, elongated, round or oval; sloped or domed top surfaces, or vertical edges. They are not always made up of squares.
Decorative or storage boxes may be opened by raising, pulling, sliding or removing the lid, which may be hinged or fastened by a catch, clasp, or lock.
Several types of boxes are used in packaging and storage.
A corrugated box is a shipping container or product container made of corrugated fiberboard. These are most commonly used to transport and warehouse products during distribution, and are rated according to the strength of the material or the capacity of the finished box. They are also used as product packaging or POP displays.
A folding carton (sometimes called a box) is fabricated from paperboard. The paperboard is printed (if necessary), die-cut and scored to form a blank. These are transported and stored flat, and erected at the point of filling. These are used to package a wide range of goods, intended either for one-time (non-resealable) use or as a storage box for the remaining goods.
A type of the folding carton is the gift box, used for birthday or Christmasgifts and often wrapped in decorative wrapping paper; this type is usually of much lighter construction than a similar-sized paperboard box meant for packaging and distribution.
A cardboard box is often used during relocation to organize and efficiently move objects. They are also used for short term or long term storage.
A "set up" box (or rigid paperboard box) is made of stiffer paperboard, permanently glued together with paper skins that can be printed or colored. Unlike folding cartons, these are assembled at the point of manufacture and transported already "set-up". Set-up boxes are more expensive than folding boxes and are typically used for protecting high-value items such as cosmetics, watches or smaller consumer electronics.
A crate is a heavy duty shipping container originally made of wood. Crates are distinct from wooden boxes, also used as heavy-duty shipping containers. For a wooden container to be a crate, all six of its sides must be put in place to result in the rated strength of the container. The strength of a wooden box, on the other hand, is rated based on the weight it can carry before the top or opening is installed.
A variant of the wooden box is the wooden wine box or wine crate, originally used for shipping and storing expensive wines, but nowadays for decorative or promotional purposes or as a storage box instead of for protection during shipping.
A bulk box is a large box often used in industrial environments. It is sized to fit well on a pallet.
Depending on locale and specific usage, the terms carton and box are sometimes used interchangeably.
Boxes for storing various items in can often be very decorative, as they are intended for permanent use and sometimes are put on display in certain locations.
The following are some types of storage boxes :
A jewelry (AmE) or jewellery (BrE) box, is a box for trinkets or jewels. It can take a very modest form with paper covering and lining, covered in leather and lined with satin, or be larger and more highly decorated.
A humidor is a special box for storing cigars at the proper humidity, by means of absorbent materials that retain and moderate moisture coming from the cigars. Powered boxes can also maintain the right temperature.
A "strong box" or safe, is a secure lockable box for storing money or other valuable items. The term "strong box" is sometimes used for safes that are no longer portable boxes but are installed in a wall or floor for increased security.
A toolbox is used for carrying tools of various kinds. The term implies a container meant for portability rather than just storage, for instance with hingedlids, clasps or locks, reinforced corners, and handles. Toolboxes are usually very sturdy, but unlike a shipping box containing dunnage, are not expected to fully protect their contents if the box is inverted or upended.
The common storage box for tools, instruments, glassware, artworks, etc. is a sturdy box made to be longer-lasting and better-finished than a shipping box or crate. For instance, a box might be a rigid paperboard box instead of a corrugated box. Or it could be a wooden box with a sanded surface and mitered corners instead of a crude crate construction. A storage box may or may not have dunnage or cushions that protect the contents if the box is upended or shaken, and usually does not have hinges, latches or locks, but simply a cover. Boxwood gets its name from its superior properties for manufacturing this type of box, although those properties are equally useful when making a decorative box.
A box file is used commonly in offices for storing papers and smaller files.
In electrical terminology, a "box" is used to contain and protect connections, thus:
Pattress, a box used to hold electrical switches and receptacles
Pillar box of 1856, at the West Gate, Warwick, England
Post box (British English and others, also written postbox), or mailbox (North American English and others) is a physical box used to collect mail that is to be sent to a destination. Variants of post boxes for outgoing mail include:
Boxes, where postal workers deposit incoming mail for the recipient, include:
Letter box (in the US usually called mailbox), positioned near or on the mail recipient's home or place of work.
Post office box, (often abbreviated P.O. box or PO box), a box rented by the mail recipient to be an independent postal address, located in a post office or in the premises of a company offering such facilities. Self-service boxes are unlocked by the recipient, otherwise, a postal clerk retrieves the mail.
A relay box is similar to a post or mailbox, but totally locked; post office trucks deposit mail that is then retrieved and delivered by pedestrian mail carriers. In the United States, they are painted differently from collection boxes.