Viscose umbrella handle, 1895.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Viscose was originally based on cellulose acetate and eventually on cellulose xanthate. It was invented by Englishmen Charles F Cros and Edward J Bevan and patented by Cros, Bevan and Clayton Beadle in 1892. Because the resulting solution was rather viscous it became known as 'Viscose'. The British patents were taken over by Courtaulds in 1904. This marbled brown solid viscose handle was produced by Beadle in Erith, Kent in 1895. In the 1890s, the discoverers of the material were experimenting with various uses for it, in solid as well as textile form.