The story of Dacron® really begins with Dr Wallace Hume Carothers who led the research into basic organic chemistry. By 1930 he had synthesized the first polyester superpolymer which led to the invention of nylon.
Meanwhile, in the UK, ICI had made great strides with its development of polyester products and patented Terylene polyester. The firm for which Carothers worked, DuPont, purchased the US rights for this in 1945. By 1948 DuPont chemical engineers were using a production unit at their Seaford plant to develop 'Fiber V' - later to be patented in 1953 and renamed Dacron®. By 1954 it was hailed as a new wonder fabric.
Dacron® is actually Polyethylene terephthalate1 and is an extremely versatile thermoplastic made by the condensation reaction of ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. It was initially used for the production of synthetic textile fibre for clothing and advertised as 'non-iron' and 'drip dry', both valuable properties for a fabric to possess. It found fame in the medical world when, in 1953, Michael E DeBakey developed the Dacron and Dacron-velour artificial grafts for replacing diseased arteries, using his wife's sewing machine to make the first graft. His Dacron artificial arteries are now used throughout the world in the surgical treatment of diseased vessels.
Interesting/Amusing Uses of Dacron®
- Air-Supported Structures for the construction trade
- Aquarium nets
- Bras for the fuller figure
- Bow strings for archers
- Climbing ropes for mountaineers
- Clothing for all
- Fishing Line for anglers
- Gliders for the aeronautically inclined
- Inflatables for air, land and sea
- Modern Art construction
- Sails for yachts and racing dingies
- Soft Tops for convertables such as Porsche and Alfa Romeo
- Surgical grafts and sutures
- Toys and dolls including Barbie