An egg carton is a carton designed for carrying and transporting whole eggs. These cartons have a dimpled form in which each dimple accommodates an individual egg and isolates that egg from eggs in adjacent dimples. This structure helps protect eggs against stresses exerted during transportation and storage by absorbing a lot of shock and limiting the incidents of fracture to the fragile egg shells. An egg carton can be made of various materials, including styrofoam, or may be manufactured from recycled paper and molded pulp by means of a mechanised Papier-mâché process.
An 'egg crate mattress', while following a similar form, is not used for egg transport. It is a light weight camping mattress which makes use of the dimpled structure to distribute and cushion human weight. This foam structure is also occasionally used in packaging to dampen impact of sensitive material during travel.
Similarly, acoustic foam tiles which help in sound proofing and the limitation of acoustic resonance have a similar form to egg crates. Egg crate mattresses are occasionally used as an inexpensive substitute.
The egg carton was invented in 1911 by Joseph Coyle of Smithers, British Columbia.