Cellophane, made of regenerated cellulose, is a thin, transparent sheet with low permeability to air, oils, greases, and bacteria. In many countries it is a registered trademark of Innovia Films Ltd. Cellulose from most sources is dissolved in alkali and carbon disulfide to make a solution called viscose that is then extruded through a slit into a bath of dilute sulfuric acid and sodium sulfate which reconverts the viscose into cellulose. It is then passed through more baths to prevent it from becoming brittle.
Jacques E. Brandenberger is the inventor of Cellophane. His inspiration was to create a cloth that would repel liquids rather than absorb them. When he sprayed viscose onto fabric it was too brittle to be useful but he did see the potential for the material and abandoned his original idea.
After ten years Brandenberger perfected his film by adding glycerin to soften the material. In 1912, he had machines manufacturing his film which he called Cellophane. Whitmans’s candy company was the first to use cellophane to wrap candy in the USA in 1912. Until 1924, they remained the largest importer of cellophane. DuPont then built a manufacturing plant in the US. It lacked major popularity due to it being waterproof but not moisture-proof. DuPont hired a chemist who eventually moisture-proofed Cellophane which in turn tripled sales between 1928 and 1930.
Since the 1930’s cellulose has been manufactured and used. It is used in many applications although most popularly as packaging for food items. Sales, however, have dwindled due to competitive products and ones that create less pollution due to the effects of carbon disulfide.