In 1938, the world changed. Not for the events going on in Europe at the time, but for the release of a newly manufactured fiber. Thanks to the chemical company DuPont and a team led by Wallace H. Carothers, nylon came into the world.
Nylon and World War II
The first use of the fiber was in woman’s stockings. The strong, light, inexpensive stockings were a huge hit when they came on the market in 1939. There would have been no stopping the clothing industry in producing more items made of nylon. That is, until World War II.
Members of the Armed Forces realized the strength of the synthesized fiber could work for them. For example, manufacturing of nylon parachutes began to replace those made of rippable silk or canvas. It was also used in rope and airplane cords. The war effort relied on the material so much there were Nylon Riots across the U.S. due to the shortage of stockings.
The use of nylon hasn’t abated since it’s invention. In fact, it has grown considerably. One example of its use is in anti corrosion liquid. Thanks to its strength, companies like Nycote Laboratories sell these liquids to coat airplanes and aerospace vehicles. Once bonded, the liquid protects the surface from pinholes and other damage which can start small but grow to dangerous sizes.
Nylon is used in plastic fasteners and machine parts to maintain their structure and minimize sudden breaks. Thanks to its ability to handle extreme temperatures, a form of the fiber is utilized in cookware. Not only pots and pans but also utensils.
Of course, it is used in a range of apparel from bathing suits to wedding gowns. Thanks to its elasticity and resistance to mildew, nylon tends to be part of everything you wear. Even if you don’t know it.
Nylon was and is a game changer for many industries. As technology continues to advance, who knows how the fiber will be used to protect someone or something in the future.