On April 26th 1956, a converted World War II tanker, the Ideal-X left the Port of Newark, New Jersey. Five days later, it arrived in Port Houston, Texas, with 58 35-feet (8 feet wide by 8 feet high) containers, along with a regular load of 15,000 tons of bulk petroleum. Malcom McLean had started something big, changing the long tradition of shipping goods on ships. Before that, cargo handling was almost as labor-intensive after World War II as it had been in the mid-1800s. After McLean's innovation, shipping was transformed by this, one of the most important innovations in the global markets of production and trade (Google books preview), though that's not without its complications. [more inside]
Gorgeous time lapse footage of the journey of the M/V Matson Maunalei loading up in Honolulu and taking the 35 day trip to Long Beach. As you probably know, those containers on the merchant ship are filled with pallets, the single most important object in the global economy , previously. Shipping containers on Metafilter.
A tale of two shipping containers in photos.
"one can quickly find themselves on the wrong side of an argument at a materials handling convention"
Shipping container architecture. A comprehensive repository of information, links, photos, and videos of shipping containers used as buildings or parts of buildings. More. Even more.