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3. Nylon


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In 1935, nylon was invented by the chemist Wallace Hume Carothers, who worked for the American company Du Pont de Nemours & Co.

In 1937, American nylon was patented: "a see-through, glossy fiber which is tear-proof, shock-resistant, heat-resistant and indestructible. Nylon is a polyamide made through the condensation of hexamethylene and adipic acid. The fibers are extruded from a melt in the dry spinning process. After complete cooling, the threads must be stretched by approximately 400% - this stretching process achieves the high elasticity and durability of nylon. Nylon's outstanding qualities include its strength, excellent resilience and abrasion resistance, and that it is easily washed and dried.


Wallace Hume Carothers, inventor of nylon.Wallace Hume Carothers, der Erfinder des Nylons


In 1938, nylon was presented to the American public for the first time in an advertising campaign by Du Pont - introduced as a fully synthetic fiber made of "carbon, water and air" with unbelievable characteristics. A first test sale of nylon fine lady's stockings took place at the company's headquarters in Wilmington on October 24, 1939. 4,000 pair of stockings from Du Pont's experimental station were sold out within 3 hours.


The coveted nylon stockings were proudly put on right on the street after purchasing them.l


In 1939, the first Du Pont full-scale nylon plant was unveiled in Seaford, Delaware. At first, nylon was used for toothbrushes, fishing lines and surgical yarn. But on May 16, 1940 - the official "Nylon Day" - 4 million pair of brown nylon stockings were offered for sale to the women of America and were sold out within 2 days.


Support troops in uniform and nylon stockings. The German movie star Marlene Dietrich supported the American Army during World War II.


American lady's fine stocking made of Du Pont nylon, app. 1945.

By 1940, three million dozen pair of nylon stockings had been sold, one year later already 8.5 million dozen pair. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941 and the USA's subsequent entry into World War II, nylon was channeled into production of goods for national defense. In 1942, only 4,5 million dozen pair of nylon stockings were produced and almost none were produced in the following years.

Long lines formed in front of stores when nylons were finally available again in the fall of 1945 after the end of the war.