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Aluminum Foil 50 Years Old

Wed., April 30, 1997

Fifty years ago, the Reynolds Metals Co. was faced with a dilemma: what to do with the vast amount of aluminum left over from manufacturing during World War II?

Put it to use in the kitchen, that’s what. And so, in 1947, the first Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil appeared on grocery shelves.

“It wasn’t easy selling a product that people had never seen, nor even imagined,” said Charles Mapes, Reynolds’ first Reynolds Wrap salesman and now a retired company vice president. “So our salesmen went door-to-door, urging people to try it.”

Somehow, it caught on. Today, aluminum foil is found in 98 percent of American kitchens.

Reynolds has gone in many other directions, including plastic wraps and oven bags, as well as maintaining a World Wide Web site (, where you can visit Pat and Betty, the Reynolds home economists featured in TV commercials.

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