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Fabric Friday: Manufactured fibers timeline

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Workshops - specialty vintage topics' started by denisebrain, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member

    There are some varying terminologies here, but I have gone with the modern consensus on the name manufactured fibers.

    Formerly known as man-made fiber, manufactured fiber is defined as “any fiber derived by a process of manufacture from any substance which, at any point in the manufacturing process, is not a fiber.” (Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, 1960)

    Manufactured fibers include those regenerated from natural materials, synthetic fibers and inorganic fibers.

    Regenerated fibers include those based on cellulose (rayon, acetate, triacetate) and protein-based fibers (azlon).

    Synthetics include acrylic, modacrylic, nylon, olefin, polyester, spandex and vinyon.

    Inorganic fibers include ceramic, glass and metallic fibers.

    I think this timeline of manufactured fibers is something everyone working with vintage should know about. You can find it under Manufactured fibers in the Fabric Resource, or from the homepage dropdown menu.

    Screen Shot 2021-09-17 at 10.44.28 AM.png

    Timeline of first commercial use of manufactured fibers

    1905 rayon in the U.K.
    1910 rayon in the U.S.
    1918 acetate in the U.K. (called celanese)
    1924 acetate in the U.S. (trademarked Celanese)
    1939 nylon
    1939 vinyon
    1950 acrylic
    1953 polyester
    1953 acetate and rayon given separate groupings by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission
    1954 triacetate
    Late 50s Modal
    1959 Spandex
    1961 Olefin
    1993 Lyocell

    Let me say this: I am no chemist. Understanding the processes used in creating manufactured fibers such as rayon, nylon and polyester was an interesting challenge for me. Having read, then read again (and again) about the invention and creation of these fibers, they finally stuck with me and I was able to present them in what I hope is understandable detail. I hope it is even a little interesting!
  2. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member

    I'm a little short on time today, so we can go into each of the manufactured fibers separately in coming weeks.

    But as always, questions and comments are welcome!
    poppysvintageclothing likes this.
  3. Midge

    Midge Super Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you, Maggie! I am currently reading the book about nylon, that also goes into the creation of rayon first. Some of those stories about early rayon are mind-boggling...
  4. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member

    Aren't they? I was going to get into the history of rayon today, but I feel that it needs it's own day!
  5. Vinclothes

    Vinclothes Alumni +

    I am so glad you will be explaining rayon. I feel least confident about rayons.
    denisebrain likes this.

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