Who Invented Plastic Wrap?

Plastic wrap is such a common and ordinary thing you can find in every house every day. If you have food left over after a meal it is sometimes quite common to put them in a plate and cover them with this film. The idea is to cover and seal off any food you want to put inside containers in order to keep them fresh. Its invention is credited to Ralph Wiley from Dow Chemical.

You will usually get plastic wrap in rolls contained in boxes. Each box usually comes with a cutting edge to make cutting the plastic film a lot easier. Every plastic film sticks to containers like an adhesive sealing food tight. It takes on different names depending on the location. In the United Kingdom, it’s called a cling-film. Some people in the United States call it cling wrap while it is called glad wrap.

Invention of the Plastic Wrap

The very first sheet of plastic ever used for wrapping anything was called cellophane. It was invented by Jacques Brandenberger, a Swiss chemist, in 1911. It was used as packaging and was quite favored due to the fact that it was transparent. However, it was never used to wrap or seal food. Needless to say, that isn’t the same as the plastic wrap that we use nowadays. The plastic wrap that we are familiar with is used primarily to wrap or cover food.

Saran is the very first sheet of plastic to be used to wrap food. Saran or Saran Wrap is a trade name of Dow Chemical. This actually refers to various polymers and monomers that has properties that act like a barrier. Compared to other plastics, this plastic wrap is able to contain aroma molecules, flavor, and water vapor more efficiently. Using this thin sheet of plastic helps in preserving food while retaining your dish’s aroma and flavor.

Who Invented Plastic Wrap

The invention of the modern plastic wrap is credited to Ralph Wiley, a lab worker for Dow Chemical. He accidentally discovered it while in the process of creating a dry cleaning product. However, Ralph Wiley’s invention wasn’t first used to wrap food. It was first used as a spray making a protective layer on fighter planes. It was only in 1949 when it was developed to keep food fresh.

Appreciating the Invention

Ralph Wiley’s wrap is quite a common thing we see almost every day. Looking into its accidental creation shows an act of pure serendipity. Today, his work benefits hundreds of households worldwide as a way to keep food fresh and flavorful.