Ever wondered who was the genius behind the simple, thin, clear food packaging material known as Cellophane? The answer lies with a Swiss chemist by the name of Jacques E. Brandenberger.
In the early 1900s, Bradenberger witnessed a seemingly fated incident which led to the invention of Cellophane. On one of his meals at a restaurant, he witnessed a simple scene unfold before him — someone had spilled wine on a restaurant’s tablecloth.
This incident led to him deciding to create a cloth that could repel liquids rather than absorb them. This was the first step to inventing the thin, flexible strip we all know and love today.
Bradenberger first used a waterproof coating on a piece of fabric, opting to use a cellulose base as a test. However, the resultant coated fabric came out too rigid and stiff. But he noticed that a thin layer had formed on top of the fabric that could be peeled off into a thin, transparent sheet.
Consequently, the idea for Cellophane was born as a by-product of Consequently, the idea for Cellophane was born as a by-product. Thereafter, it took the ambitious chemist more than a decade to finally perfect the material. By 1912, Brandenberger completed a machine that would enable him to manufacture the film.
Today, cellulose films can be found in most industries — with the most widely used being Cellophane. But aside from food packaging, the material has also been adapted for a myriad of uses such as in self-adhesive tapes such as Sellotape/Scotch Tape or as a semipermeable membrane in certain industrial batteries.