While reading back over old issues of Spin-Off, I found an article about synthetic fibers that fascinated me. It made me go out of my way to order a 1978 book titled Man-Made Fibers Fact Book. Before 1900, man-made synthetic fibers didn’t really exist.
The article lists a number of synthetics with their first U.S. commercial production:
And a few textiles that, at the time of publication, hadn’t been produced in the U.S.:
While some of these names look familiar to me, there are just as many that I’m not familiar with. But I bet most of you have spun yarn with firestar or angelina in it. Firestar is a type of nylon. Angelina is a type of polyester.
With the current preference for natural fibers over synthetic fibers, many synthetics have been left to the commercial sector, or abandoned in favor of better synthetics. For some man-made fibers, environmental responsibility becomes a question about their production methods.
Over the next few weeks, let’s examine some of the synthetic fibers, benefits, negatives, and practical application for the hand-spinner.
Man-Made Fibers Fact Book, , Man-Made Fiber. Producers Association, Inc. 1978.
Richards, H. R. (1978). Fibers — From Where to Where. Spin-Off, 33-36.