Viscose or Rayon was the first man made fiber, a cheap fabric which had the look of silk. Rayon was made by chemically treating cellulose from wood or cotton to create a thick liquid called viscose, which was extruded through small holes into an acid bath that solidified the fiber. The building at the site in which this process had been used has already disappeared; residue of the acid had eaten its way into the wooden floors and walls causing the building to collapse, so it was demolished completely.
Sure wish a 50c breakfast was still available these days...
Many rayon factories created men's socks, women's stockings, lingerie and dresses, then tire cords, particularly during WWII. After the war, the demand decreased and there was strong competition with other synthetic fabrics, such as acrylic and polyester, so many of the factories produced cellophane instead which was manufactured in a similar way to rayon, both being made from cellulose. Ultimately a combination of environmental pollution from this kind of manufacturing and the production of cheaper artificial materials that had a much shorter production time led to the closure of many plants. Today scientists believe that cellulose molecule can be obtained directly from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide meaning a cleaner method of production, so rayon may make a comeback in the U.S. It is currently still made the old way in India, Canada, Laos and China.
An interesting article on rayon.