Democracy Dies in Darkness


What the world's top pizza box collector thinks of Apple's patented pizza box

By Herman Wong

May 19, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Scott Wiener is the Guinness World Record holder for the largest collection of pizza boxes. Photo by Michael Berman

One of the world's most avid collectors would love to get his hands on an exclusive Apple product that the company isn't selling.

What Scott Wiener is after is a pizza box.

An image in the patent application for the pizza box used by Apple.

The wider world became aware of the circular carrier with a perforated lid after it was mentioned briefly in a recent Wired article about Apple Park, the Silicon Valley giant's new campus in Cupertino, Calif. In a parenthetical, the magazine noted that Francesco Longoni, "the maestro of the Apple Park café, helped Apple patent a box that will keep to-go pizzas from getting soggy." A caption added that it was "for workers who want to take the café's pizza back to their pods."

The patent describes the container as "a lid portion that is coupled to the base portion through a hinged connection such that the entire container is singularly constructed from a single piece of material." Or you could just look at this video.

Apple declined to make Longoni available for comment or answer any questions about their pizza and pizza boxes.

So we asked Wiener for his impression, based on photos and the patent filing.

Now Wiener does not make pizza boxes. He collects them. A lot of them. He is the Guinness record holder for the world's largest pizza box collection, with more than 1,300 from dozens of countries in his possession. He sees them as an interesting way to look at pizza.

"Any piece of ephemera says so much about the culture — it says something about the food itself."

Wiener likes the Apple-patented pizza box, but was hesitant to call it revolutionary. Here's what he saw as its strengths and weaknesses.

The pluses of the Apple pizza box

The minuses

What would you ask Apple about their pizzas or pizza boxes?

He was most interested in how the pizzas are made. "Are they gas oven pizzas, is it a wood-fired thing? What is the oven in their cafeteria."

He is also curious about the material used to make the box. 

What are you seeing with pizza boxes today and what are the best?

Wiener said has seen growing interest in environmentally friendly pizza boxes that take up less space in the garbage can, and those that are easily recyclable or compostable. He also noted a trend in boxes with a secondary use, such as a built in game or that turns into its own container for leftovers. 

A few years ago he named VENTiT the world's best designed pizza box, praising it for retaining heat without trapping steam.

Some of Wiener's current favorites are Zume Pizza's moisture absorbent pizza pod (the lid soaks up to five grams of water vapor, according to Fast Company), and GreenBox's versatility container (the lid becomes plates and the base can be used to carry leftovers).

So, do you want an Apple pizza box?

"Of course."

Herman Wong is a deputy editor on the general assignment news desk for The Washington Post.

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