Q:

What happened to Dacron in 1954?

A:

The use of Dacron as a fabric gained wide acceptance in 1954, after more than a decade of development. However, Dacron was used before 1954.

DuPont purchased the rights to Dr. Wallace Hume Carothers's organic chemical research in 1945 after he developed synthetic nylon from polyester. Chemical engineers at DuPont dedicated an entire laboratory to perfect Dacron, which is known for its durability, resistance to degradation and high tensile strength. They patented the fabric in 1953.

Suits made of the synthetic fabric began to debut in May of 1951, with items sold by Deering, Milliken & Co., and a $79.50 model from Hart, Schaffner & Marx. Adjusting for inflation, the suit would sell for more than $650 today.

Dacron became commercially available for medical use in 1957. The synthetic fiber was used to graft arteries and veins during bypass surgery. Dacron was widely used in vascular surgery from the late 1950s through the 1970s.

Dacron is a polymer obtained through chemical reactions between ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. The synthetic fabric is used in curtains, fire hoses, dresses, men's suits, sails, knitted wear, woven sportswear and many other applications.

The reason Dacron and 1954 gained notoriety in the 1990s was due to the lyrics of "We Didn't Start the Fire," a song by Billy Joel.


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