In 1933, Ralph Wiley, a lab worker at Dow chemical discovered the plastic wrap by accident when he was cleaning lab equipment and found a film inside one vial was not coming off.
The film was polyvinylidene chloride. After further experimentation, Wiley discovered the substance was clingy, resisted chemicals, and was impervious to air and water.
Dow researchers made the substance into a greasy, dark green film, which Dow called “Saran.” The military sprayed it on fighter planes to guard against salty sea spray and carmakers used it for upholstery.
Dow later got rid of Saran’s green color and unpleasant odor, and the material evolved into a product for food packaging and storage.
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