In 1855, Swiss chemist Georges Audemars developed the first artificial silk using mulberry bark pulp and gummy rubber. Then, in 1884, the French chemist Hilaire de Charbonnet, patented Chardonnay silk, which was a closer replica. However, Chardonnay silk was found to be very flammable, and was taken off the market. Then in 1894, British inventors Charles Cross, Edward Bevan, and Clayton Beadle, patented viscose rayon, which proved to be better fabric. It also was safe and practical to produce, which is more than could be said for the past methods. At last, Avtex Fibers Incorporated began commercially producing this artificial silk (viscose rayon) in the United States in 1910. The term Rayon was first put to general use in 1924.
Modern Rayon has is used in many different things, including clothing, tire cords, carpets, surgical bandages, Zippo® lighter filling, furnishings (including bed sheets, blankets, window covers, upholstery and slipcovers), towels, and much more.
Modal and Tencel (also known as Lyocell) fibers are varieties of rayon which are produced by the northern Austrian company Lenzing AG.