Have It Your Way


Frozen TV dinner. Credit to Casey Leigh Lukes from Experience Life magazine. Accessed May 5, 2018.

A third tactic used to establish cellophane as the premier packaging material in the 1930s and 1940s was the creation of different varieties that fit clients’ particular wants and needs. As home appliances grew in popularity and affordability after World War II, opportunities to use the revolutionary material expanded to take advantage of these increasingly common technologies. Cellophane producers, mainly DuPont, Sylvania, and Olin, produced a wide variety of films that had unique chemical properties to fit the needs of different markets. Manufacturers of dry goods such as candies, cookies, and noodles required a durable material that would still give off the famous, glossy cellophane shine. Producers of goods for vending machines and cafeterias needed cellophane that could offer greater shelf life and lock in moisture more efficiently. Businesses specializing in frozen or refrigerated foods desired cellophane that would not “fog up” to allow the consumer to see the product through the cellophane in high-moisture environments.[1] Whatever the clients needed, producers found a way to make it happen.


The leading cellophane manufacturers even provided the material in many colors in order to help businesses associate their products with holidays or themes. For example, “plain light blue” cellophane wrapping helped associate a product with coolness, refreshment, and cleanliness, which made it a popular choice for hygiene and medicinal products.[2] Green and red were especially popular for holiday decorations, and DuPont emphasized cellophane’s decorative potential for all seasons and celebrations. Cellophane manufacturers such as DuPont, therefore, did not merely create a single material and try to sell it to everyone. They created different versions of cellophane with unique properties that wowed shoppers and decorators alike.


VI. Tobacco and Cellophane: A Love Story⇒

[1] Sales materials for DuPont clients, Box 13, Folder 13, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company Lavoisier Library archival collection (Accession 2632), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

[2] Ibid