Composite Cellulose Film
Patent No. 1,266,766
Invented in 1908, cellophane came from Swiss chemist Jacques Brandenberger's
desire to create a clear, flexible, waterproof
film that could be applied to cloth. After experimenting with different ways
of applying liquid viscose rayon to cloth,
Brandenberger discovered that a thin transparent film could be peeled off
the top of the cloth. He realized this new
material had many potential uses and focused his attention on it.
By 1912, Brandenberger had invented one of the first machines for
large-scale production of cellophane, and built an
industrial enterprise to manufacture the transparent wrap in Paris. With
access to mass quantities, he created different
uses for cellophane, including as a wrap for products and as a thin,
flexible film over the eyepieces of gas masks. He was
granted patents for his machinery and basic process in 1917, while
working at La Cellophane Société Anonyme.
In 1923, La Cellophane sold the rights to the process to make and sell
cellophane in North and Central America to the DuPont
Cellophane Company. Although newer, more heat-resistant plastics
emerged, Brandenberger’s cellophane is still common in
Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Brandenberger’s invention of cellophane and
its widespread use earned him the Franklin
Institute’s Gold Medal.