Hilaire de Chardonnet

May 1, 1839 - Mar 11, 1924

Louis-Marie Hilaire Bernigaud de Grange, Count de Chardonnet was a French engineer and industrialist from Besançon, and inventor of artificial silk.
In the late 1870s, Chardonnet was working with Louis Pasteur on a remedy to the epidemic that was destroying French silkworms. Failure to clean up a spill in the darkroom resulted in Chardonnet's discovery of nitrocellulose as a potential replacement for real silk. Realizing the value of such a discovery, Chardonnet began to develop his new product.
He called his new invention "Chardonnet silk" and displayed it in the Paris Exhibition of 1889. Unfortunately, Chardonnet's material was extremely flammable, and was subsequently replaced with other, more stable materials.
He was the first to patent artificial silk, although Georges Audemars had invented a variety called rayon in 1855.
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