Being able to store away food and other supplies for later use was essential to the survival of early human life, and it happens to be just as important in today’s world. In the scope of large storage warehouses, the risk of a single aged or broken shelf can threaten a town’s food supply or drag down company profits. So how have warehouses evolved to store and protect their goods? When did we even need to start using warehouses to begin with?

Warehouses by the Sea

As long as an item has any sort of value in the world, someone will always want a place to keep it secure and, sometimes, even show it off. The European explorers went big with this idea over 500 years ago, bringing heavy trade and high volumes of goods back from their voyages. With shops and stores lacking the room for those goods, wooden warehouses were first erected, almost always right beside the receiving port.


With the arrival of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century, railroad systems began to advance trade further, taking large amounts of cargo quickly across varied terrains. Soon warehouses began popping up directly beside where the trains were doing the big business.

Reinforcing the Basics

Decades after the Industrial Revolution, Bessemer steel, a new type of specially refined and forged steel was making a huge boom in the industry. This allowed more warehouses to be built for less, as well as reinforcing or replacing most warehouse shelving with steel, providing more strength and longevity than lumber.

The Strength of Shelves

The switch to steel warehouse shelving played an essential role in the overall increase in efficiency of storage facilities since the stronger racks can stack and safely support more product. Increasing the storage capacities of any warehouse equates to more profit from the operation of the warehouse, meaning any growing market or materials breakthrough will surely influence how warehouses grow and operate as well.

The Future of Warehouse Storage

Stronger racks and ample space help make the most of any basic warehouse, but there are many new and exciting ways to manage the inventory of a storage facility. Computers in more advanced warehouses around the globe are capable of reading remote data from stores, processing which products need to be shipped and their destination. Some even utilize conveyor belts and roving robots to move palettes throughout the facility!
As companies grow and create more physical goods, they will always need to find somewhere to store everything they consume and produce. It was true for the people of the past and it remains true for our modern life. If you need help deciding what kind of warehouse storage system will best fit your company’s needs for now & in the future, contact one of our engineers.