An eight year old was asked, 'What do you think is a cation?'

Her quick reply was a positively charged kitten.

Wallace Carothers: Father of Nylon

Fishing nets, parachute cords, machine parts, toothbrushes, silk stockings, carpets, bridal veils, carpets, ropes, vehicle tires, sporting bags, combat uniforms ... do you know what do these things have in common? They are made of nylon. Wallace Carothers is the person behind the discovery of nylon.

Nylon belongs to the family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides. This useful substance was discovered by famous scientist Wallace Carothers. Nylon was first produced on February 18, 1935. Most commonly used among polymers, this product is a great invention done by Wallace Carothers.


Wallace Carothers was born on April 27, 1896 in Burlington, Iowa. He worked at the DuPont Experimental Station laboratory where polymer research work was done.

How was Nylon invented?

Wallace Carothers was responsible for waterproofing the cellophane, a thin, transparent sheet made of regenerated cellulose or an organic compound. The lab was well on its way of discovering nylon. They had named it Fibre 66. Wallace Carothers spent seven years researching this product. He then found out that this Fibre 66 had the capacity of replacing animal hairs on a toothbrush and also replace the silk stockings.

He then demonstrated to the world the varied uses of this material in an attempt for acceptance. He succeeded and nylon got accepted worldwide. The naming committee of the lab named it as No Run but then when the fabric got accepted and gained popularity it got renamed to Nylon.

Another story regarding the name Nylon suggests that this fibre was first introduced in New York (NY) and London (Lon) and hence it was named as Nylon.

However, no matter how the fabric was named, all that we are concerned is Wallace Carothers has helped us by inventing nylon as today we cannot imagine a life without this fabric. Almost everything has been substituted by nylon as this product is known for its strength, durability and rigidity.

Tags :     Wallace Carothers     Nylon     cellophane     cellulose     Fibre 66     DuPont    


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