French chemist, Hilaire Bernigaud, count de Chardonnet, first developed an artificial fiber in 1878 using plant cellulose. The fiber process was patented and produced in 1884.
Viscose rayon has a silk-like feel and is exceptionally drapeable. It is widely used in the decorative fabrics industry.
Rayon dyes well, is absorbent, soft and does not melt in high temperatures. It resists moths and is not easily affected by household chemicals.
Clothing, carpets, tablecloths, draperies, upholstery, hose, bedspreads and even tires and conveyor belts are made of rayon.
Other rayons, besides viscose, include cuprammonium which is made from cotton linters, and saponified cellulose acetate.