Some exciting uses for cellophane

Cellophane was first trademarked by the Swiss chemist Jacques Brandenberger in 1912. His original intention was to produce a waterproof table cloth, but he was struck by the many potential uses for the thin cellulose film that had peeled off one of his experiments and decided to pursue it as a product in and of itself.

Cellulose film had already been synthesised by a team of British chemists in 1898, but Brandenberger was the first to mass produce the substance. The brand Cellophane has gone through several changes of ownership since 1912 and is currently a registered trademark of the British company Innovia Films Ltd throughout much of the world. In the United States cellophane has become a generic term for any kind of clear plastic film, even if not made from cellulose.

At present Innovia produce over 120,000 tonnes of film each year, with cellophane accounting for a large proportion of the total. Here are some of our favourite uses for cellophane:

1) Art: Apart from being used in bags for transporting artworks, cellophane has been used in various different applications in the art world. Artists have used the refractive properties of cellophane when sandwiched between two plane polarising filters to create works that move around as observers shift their viewing angle. There is also a group called CelloGraff who stretch cellophane between two objects, such as trees, and cover the film with graffiti.

2) Cigar packaging: Due to the fact that cellophane is not impermeable to moisture it makes a perfect wrapping for tobacco products.

In 1927, Du Pont in America developed a special nitrocellulose lacquer that they applied to cellophane in order to make it impermeable to moisture. This sparked a massive increase in cellophane sales in the US. However, in its original form a cellophane wrap is a barrier to water, but not to water vapour. This allows cigars to breath keeping them in peak condition.

3) Wrapping gifts: Cellophane wrapping is available in all sorts of colours and with various designs printed on the surface. As such it can make a perfect wrap for a gift that you’d like people to see before it’s handed over, such as a food hamper or some elaborately detailed chocolates.

4) Sellotape: Cellophane is the basis for various types of sticky tape including the most famous of them all, the appropriately named Sellotape. Sellotape is now a generic term across much of the world where it is used to refer to any sticky tape. A notable exception is North America where Scotch Tape, which is also cellophane-based, is popularly used in much the same way.

Originally, the “C” in cellophane was changed to an “S” in Sellotape so that the company would be able to trademark the new brand.

5) CD wrappers: Record companies use cellophane to package up their CD jewel cases and stop them from becoming dirty or scuffed before purchase. Cellophane is 100% biodegradable which has helped to maintain its popularity for packaging in the face of newer oil-based plastic films.

Martin Jonson is director of the UK’s leading DVD/Blu-ray/CD duplication company providing exceptional quality at the lowest UK prices. He offers next day delivery anywhere in the UK and will complete your job quickly with the greatest care. You can connect with him on Google+.

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