Friday, January 9, 2015

Top 10 Features of the Hagley Nylon Exhibit

The Nylon Exhibit is currently on display at the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, Delaware until January 25th, 2015.
1. Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as aliphatic polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington, Delaware.  I have used extreme caution when attempting to iron anything nylon.  I consider it a very delicate and dainty fabric.

2. Dupont set up several plants to produce nylon, the first photograph shows a sample of nylon yarn on display at the exhibit from the Seaford, Delaware Plant in 1939.

 The first bobbin of nylon from Martinsville, Virginia is shown from November 1941.

Photograph on display at the Nylon exhibit Hagley Museum
3. Dupont showcased their new product at the 1939 World's Fair. The second photograph of a scientist demonstrating how nylons are made was also from the World's Fair and found at the Hagley Museum exhibit.
Original link:
Repository: Hagley Museum and Library

4. Actress Marie Wilson was the model for the two ton leg used to promote nylon stockings in Los Angles from 1946 - 1949. That photograph is on display currently at the Hagley Museum during the "Nylon" exhibit.

5. I wasn't around at the time but I heard stories of nylons being scarce during the war. The War Production Board announced Dupont would cease nylon stocking production and focus on war time nylon needs like parachutes and rope. My grandmother told me women would drawn lines down that back of their legs to make it look like a seam on stockings.  Once the war was over ladies went crazy to buy the stockings again.  Crowds were so large they referred to it as the "Nylon Riots".

Hagley Museum "Nylon Exhibit" photograph.

6. The First Nylon Wedding dress was worn by Mrs. Wilhelmina Laird Craven a du Pont family member on June 20th, 1942.  She was the great great granddaughter of. Éleuthère Irénée du Pont (E.I) founder of Dupont. Mary Alletta Belin du Pont Laird, daughter of Lammont du Pont I was her mother. The wedding dress and veil created by Bird-Speakman Women's Shop in Wilmington, Delaware with prototype fabric from Dupont.

7. Nylon is a fashion statement. Qiana is a silky nylon fiber developed in 1962 at the DuPont Experimental Station by Stanley Brooke Speck.

Qiana evening gown (1971-1977) , this one labeled "La Mendola" an Italian-designed evening gown purchased in Rome, Italy. The most notable client of La Mendola was Elizabeth Taylor.

 Qiana Evening Gown (1968-1969) designed by William Travilla. He was most known for making clothing for Marilyn Monroe.

Qiana wrap dress (1968- 1969) designed by Oscar de la Renta.

8. Nylon is the sporty life.

 Tennis, anyone?

The Notre Dame team that played Army at Yankee stadium in 1941 wore the first nylon football pants. Out of curiosity I looked up the score. I am not sure if the pants had anything to do with it.

This uniform made of a nylon and worsted wool was worn by New York Yankees pitcher Bobby Shantz in 1957.

9. Then there is the practical every day use of nylon of comb and brush.  Comb your hair and brush your teeth. It can even be used for shoes.

10. Pantyhose are the fashion now who doesn't want a control top! I must admit for a very brief time I did own a garter belt for my nylon stockings.  It was a coming of age purchase but knee socks still accessorized the Catholic girl uniform but stockings, they made you a lady.

 As I mentioned at the beginning the "nylon" exhibit is on till January 25. On January 24 from 1 - 4 p.m. you can participate in Science Saturday: The Science of Nylon.

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