But inventing a clear flexible film that could provide a waterproof layer for tablecloths was not as easy as he had expected. His experiments seemed only to render the cloth stiff, not waterproof.
Down but not out, Brandenberger noticed that the coating on his latest attempt peeled off as a transparent film, and, quick to realise that it was not a useless by-product but the start of something big, he set about developing a machine for the mass manufacture of what we know today as 'cellophane'.
By 1908, Brandenberger had patented his invention and his machine. Today, cellophane finds use in food packaging, but is also the base for self-adhesive tapes such as Sellotape.
This article was taken from the book, 'The Ideas Companion' by Johnny Action. If you would like to read more, the book is available from Amazon.