Chapter 4


The seduction of packaging 1930s

Cellophane sweeps the world as a fabulous sexy material. In this chapter, ideas around the use of cellophane for food packaging are also explored. Although very familiar today, when introduced cellophane packaging was a means of adding value to all consumer goods, from cigarettes to sandwiches. Advertising from the time conjured up a world of dirt, foreign germs and staleness from which cellophane could protect us.



Like paper but not paper  

Thin as tissue but hard to tear  

Transparent as glass but not glass  


From Rue de la Chausee d’Autin  

La cellophane  

A shimmering jewel in sheet form  

A shimmying shush  

A lone spot of brilliance  

A dose of sex appeal  

A touch of disposable gloss  

(and pre-packed packaging units moving fast)  

La cellophane  

A complex four part system featuring nitrocellulose, a wax moisture proof barrier, plasticiser, blending agent. Plant fibre is dissolved in alkali and carbon di-sulfide making viscose, which is then extruded through a slit into a bath of sulphuric acid and sodium sulphate to reconvert the viscose into cellulose. The film then passes through several more baths, removing sulphur, bleaching the film and adding softening materials such as glycerine to stop the film becoming brittle...La Cellophane  Two thieves in the night, Dampness and Dryness silently rob  

The crispy crunch, the tenderness of delicate dainties for lunch… Cellophane stands guard  

Let strange hands grab and paw,  

Cellophane stands guard  

Inquisitive hands that grab and paw,  

Cellophane stands guard  

Let strange hands touch and feel and grab  

Cellophane stands guard  

Peek a boo, peek a boo, It's looking after you  

and it's keeping foreign odours out too  

Shimmering jewel, shimmying shush, cellophane, peek-a-boo.