Man made fabric has been around just over a century. The first recorded was artificial silk, made of the bark from mulberry trees, introduced by a chemist in 1855. This was followed by Rayon, the first commercially produced fiber in France in 1891. Rayon became very popular, not because it was better than natural fibers, but it cost half as much to produce. Rayon did not make its way into the U.S. until 1910.
DuPont made their way into the textile industry with nylon, first introduced in 1931. It was first called “66” due to the chemical process to create it. Nylon was the first fiber that was completely synthetic. Nylon was first used to make toothbrushes, and then came parachutes followed by ladies stockings. Polyester soon followed.
By 1953, manmade fabrics could be found worldwide. 20% of fibers coming out of textile mills were manmade. They were easy and cheap to produce. Today many other synthetic fibers have been created as off shoots of these original synthetics.
Have no fear! Natural fibers were re-discovered in the 1990’s when cotton once again became king. While synthetic fibers are still widely found, natural fibers have once again become common place and often preferred.
What’s your favorite fiber?