Time to Wrap This Up


What was once an industry dominated by cellophane is now an industry that faces tough competition between cellophane and newer plastics, such as polyethylene. Image courtesy of Elaine Schwartz from econlife.com. Accessed May 15, 2018.

What began as a humble attempt to keep tablecloths clean in France snowballed into the production in America of one of the most popular packaging materials of the twentieth century. What started out as a simple sheet of film that kept water, dirt, and bugs away from groceries transformed into many varieties of cellophane used throughout many industries. Cellophane producers and marketers gave manufacturers and ordinary shoppers what they wanted, and they built identities around their product and around the people who used it. These identities took root in American consumer culture, and cellophane came to embody American values, national pride, and modernity through scientific progress. Although cellophane today has tremendous competition in the way of plastics, such as Saran wrap and polyethylene films, it will always be remembered as one of America’s most iconic disposable materials.



DuPont’s famous slogan, “Better Living Through Chemistry,” was epitomized through their production and sale of cellophane. Image courtesy of The Electrochemical Society. Accessed May 15, 2018: https://www.electrochem.org/redcat-blog/working-with-stuff/


Want to go back and visit a previous page? Click here to go back to the beginning, or click on one of the links below!

I. A Not-So-Squeaky-Clean Start in America

II. Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

III. Businesses See the Potential

IV. We’re In…Now What?

V. Have It Your Way

VI. Tobacco and Cellophane: A Love Story

VII. If You Wrap It, They Will Buy…Maybe

VIII. Selling it to the Masses

IX. It’s Always About the Customer

X. Quality You Can See

XI. Cellophane in Surprising Places