I happened to learn that it wasn’t Frank Gianninoto who designed the “flip-top box” as Thomas Hine (and others) seem to infer:
“Perhaps the most radical part of Gianninoto’s design was the new physical form it gave the package… a cardboard box with a top that flipped open.”
Marlboro Country Was One No Man’s Land
By Thomas Hine, April 16, 1995, NY Times
But, judging from other descriptions of the Marlboro pack design process, Gianninoto was responsible for the graphic design of the package—not the structural design.
…At David Lyon’s suggestion, the company hired a new package designer, Frank Gianninoto, to respond to the Philip Morris call for “a bold, masculine-type package.” Production chief Clark Ames had recently returned from Germany with a flip-top box, hoping that it might serve as a prototype for the new Marlboro package. Initially the design team opposed the hard box, seeing it as a throwback to the 1850s, but the ultimately adopted it, eventually making rugged durability part of the brand’s masculine image.
Producing fashion: commerce, culture, and consumers
By Regina Lee Blaszczyk
Delving a little deeper, what I seemed to learn was that it was Desmond W. Molins of The Molins Machine Company who had designed the structure:
The 1950s saw the introduction of the hinge-lid pack, which was originally invented and patented by Walter’s son, Desmond Molins, in 1937. The hinge-lid pack was a major step forward from the previous soft packs, which allowed cigarettes to be damaged, and was used by Philip Morris in 1954 to relaunch the Marlboro brand: it was instantly successful and Marlboro sales increased 50 fold.
From the Molins PLC website
(Looking in the online patent databases, I could not find the Desmond W. Molins 1937 hinge-lid pack patent. The patent drawings shown here are from subsequent patents, improving on the “prior art.”)
As a packaging machine company, Molins naturally offered a machine capable of making these new “hinge lid packs”—namely the “hinge lid packer” or “HLP.”
Archival photos from the Molins Tobacco Machinery site
Yet another version of the story of how Philip Morris came to adopt the Molins hinge-lid pack seems to focus on the hinge-lid packer machinery:
Desmond Molins well remembers the disappointment when the first hinge lid packer, which produced a two-row pack, was not well received. This type of packer only became popular after the chance sighting of a sample three row pack by a visiting Philip Morris representative who immediately recognised its potential.
(Another patent drawing and a related video, after the fold…)
From the The UCSF Tobacco Industry Videos: “The Marlboro Story,” a half hour industry film from Philip Morris.
The narrator’s first sentence:
This is the story of a cigarette called, “Marlboro” and how a sort of faceless, sissified little brand became America’s fastest growing cigarette.
Strange how they manage to bring a discussion of “branding” back to its etymological cowboy roots. But also weirdly upfront about positioning the Marlboro man as the the cure for effeminate branding. (Brokeback Mountain, notwithstanding)
Beach Packaging Design