Every pizza fan can agree that pizza just isn’t as good when it gets cold. Sure, if there are leftover slices, you’ll grab a cold one out of the fridge when you get hungry in the middle of the night. But that’s after you’ve had the distinct pleasure of eating several slices while it was piping hot.

If you had your pizza delivered, you can thank Ingrid Kosar for that piping-hot privilege. As we just learned from this excellent article at The Distance, she’s the inventor of the thermal pizza delivery bag, which has been keeping pizzas warm for the past 30 years. Her primary inspiration was her own dissatisfaction at getting cold pizza all the time.

thermal bags by ingrid website screenshot

Screenshot from the Thermal Bags by Ingrid website.

The entire piece is well worth a read, but here are some of the key things we learned:

Pizza Box Transit Before Ingrid Was Really Sketchy

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Pizzerias in the early 1980s relied primarily on corrugated cardboard pizza boxes to keep the pizzas warm in transit. If you’re reading that sentence in horror, you’re not alone—but it gets worse.

Other methods that pizzerias tried in the dark days before Ingrid’s bags include:

  • wrapping boxes in blankets
  • metal heater box that had shelves and used a lit Sterno can for heat; incredibly unsafe if you had to brake at all

Domino’s Pizza Standardized the Modern Pizza Box

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It’s likely that you’re used to seeing a pizza come in a corrugated cardboard delivery box, but even that was an advancement at one time. Way back in the day, pizzas were delivered on those big cardboard cake circles and slid inside a paper bag.

Pizza Presents Unique Challenges To Keep Warm

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You want a crispy crust, but you want piping hot toppings as well. Those toppings are often moist things like sausage, tomatoes, and other vegetables. Kosar created insulated bags made of breathable nylon that were meant to cooperate with those cardboard boxes. The boxes retained heat but released steam, and the bags let the steam out but kept in warmth since they are so breathable. Genius.

Thermal Bags by Ingrid Has An Impressive Client List

The great thing about Kosar’s business is that it’s willing to work with anyone, big or small. Independent pizzerias rely on her products, as do gigantic chains. Some of her clients include:

  • Domino’s Pizza
  • U.S. Army and Air Force
  • NASA
  • Papa John’s
  • The White House

If you love pizza, the full story of Ingrid Kosar’s business is a fascinating read.

We love that she saw a problem, worked to fix it, and improved the lives of millions of people in the process. That’s inspiring not just for pizza lovers, but for everyone. It’s a great reminder that anyone can complain, but fixing problems usually requires some hands-on action.

[via The Distance, Quartz, Thermal Bags by Ingrid]