Plastic wrap was first synthesized accidentally by DOW chemical engineer Ralph Wiley in 1933. Although initially used to wrap military equipment, its value as a food preserver quickly became apparent. The advantage? It sticks to almost anything. The disadvantage, at least for frustrated home chefs? It also sticks to itself. Plastic wrap's main competitor for the wrapping of food at home, aluminum foil, was originally tin foil — and some folks still call the former by the latter's name. Aluminum foil was introduced in Europe just after 1900, and unlike its predecessor, does not lend a metallic tang to food. Unlike plastic wrap, aluminum foil withstands heat, so can be used in the oven to protect pan bottoms or keep food from direct heat.