Saran, the trademark name for vinylidene chloride polymer, was coined by Dow chemist Jack Reilly, who combined the names of his wife and daughter, Sarah and Ann Reilly.
In 1933, Ralph Wiley, a college student working in a lab at Dow Chemical Company in Michigan experienced difficulty washing beakers he was using to develop a dry-cleaning product. He identified the green chemical coating the beakers as polyvinylidene chloride. Dow initially developed polyvinylidene chloride into a spray to give US fighter planes a protective coating.
In 1953, Dow Chemical introduced Saran Wrap. Plastics and silicone products boosted sales, catapulting Dow to the forefront of U.S. companies with sales topping $1 billion in 1964.
In 2004, the S.C. Johnson Company, having purchased Saran Wrap from Dow Chemical in 1998, eliminated polyvinylchloride from Saran Wrap. Concerned that products containing any kind of chlorine end up in municipal incinerators and emit toxic chemicals into the environment, S.C. Johnson switched to polyethylene to make Saran Premium Wrap and Saran Cling Plus Wrap.
The unique composition of Saran Wrap provides the highest temperature tolerance and resistance to hot fats and oils, making it the best product for use in a microwave oven. It is strong enough to go directly from the freezer to the microwave oven without melting or tearing. (Always turn back one corner of the plastic wrap to let excess stream escape during cooking.)
Never use any plastic wrap to microwave foods with a high fat or sugar content. These foods can be extremely hot and may cause plastic wrap to melt.
Do not use Saran Wraps in conventional ovens, browning units, toaster ovens, or on stovetops. The polyethylene will melt.
To avoid losing the end of Saran Wrap and preventing it from tearing when you unroll it, make sure that the loose end is pressed against the adhesive panel, which holds the wrap in place.
If you do loose the end of the Saran Wrap, place the sticky side of a piece of Scotch Tape on the plastic wrap and pull forward to find the end.
In 1992, when Dow-Corning, the leading manufacturer of silicone breast implants, was accused of putting a breast implant on the market without proper testing, the joint venture stopped producing the devices.
Rumor contends that a piece of Saran Wrap can be used as an impromptu condom. It does not work. Plastic film does not withstand the friction of sexual intercourse nor does it provide an adequate barrier against sperm.