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Fascinating facts about the invention of
Cellophane
by Jacques Brandenberger in 1908.
CELLOPHANE
You see a lot of cellophane at the grocery store. That clear stuff covering the raw hamburger is a type of cellophane. You also seal your friend's birthday gift with cellophane tape.
Jacques Brandenberger, a Swiss chemist, was not trying to make something to cover your pork chops in 1908. He worked in a French textile firm and was looking for a way to make a stain proof tablecloth. He tried coating the cloth with a thin sheet of viscose film. No one would buy the tablecloths, but Brandenberger realized that the sheet of film held possibilities.
It took him ten years to develop a machine that would produce what he named  cellophane. He patented the production process and called the company La Cellophane. The name came from combining "cello," from cellulose, with "Phane," from the French word diaphane, which means transparent. Cellophane became available to the public in 1919. In 1927 a waterproof lacquer coating was developed that made it more useful. With the lacquer coating, cellophane could be used to package food, since it was airtight and waterproof.

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
Invention of Cellophane Tape   from The Great Idea Finder
Chemistry History  from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Accidents May Happen: 50 Inventions Discovered by Mistake
by Charlotte Foltz Jones, John O'Brien (Illustrator) / Hardcover - 86 pages (1996) / Delacorte
Fifty inventions discovered by mistake receive entertaining cartoon embellishment but are actually serious subjects which will delight and entertain kids.

The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle: And Other Surprising Stories About Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson / Paperback - 128 pages (1999) / Puffin
Brief factual stories about how various familiar things were invented, many by accident, from animal crackers to the zipper.

ON THE WEB:
History of du Pont Cellophane
When du Pont chemists found a way to make the film moistureproof, the door opened to a new era.

(URL: www.oldhickoryrecord.com/anniversary.htm)
History of Plastics
We all know the many ways that plastics contribute to our health, safety and peace of mind. But how did the material plastic come about?
(URL: www.americanplasticscouncil.org/benefits/about_plastics/history.html)
Cellophane and 3D Displays
New research on ordinary cellophane shows that it can be used to convert a laptop screen image into a seemingly three-dimensional display. From the American Physics Institute.
(URL: www.aip.org/pnu/2003/split/649-3.html)

FUN FACTS:

  • Cellophane came from combining "cello," from cellulose, with "Phane," from the French word diaphane, which means transparent.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised March, 2005.
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