Fabrics, and how we join them together, continue to evolve. Ian Collins, Product Manager and Strategic Account Manager, West Controls Solutions, looks at the process of temperature control – one of the key factors that can deliver successful seam sealing and thermal bonding in textiles
By most estimates, humankind had been joining pieces of fabric together the same way for around 25,000 years – perhaps longer - before a significant change came about in the early nineteenth century when the world’s first practicable sewing machine was invented. There’s a fascinating (silent) film here, showing how sewing machines were manufactured in the 1930s.
Textiles too have a history. While the earliest use of sewing was to stitch together animal hides, weaving and spinning have been around almost as long. For the large majority of that time, the base materials used were natural – cotton, wool and silk. However, around half a decade after the invention of the first viable sewing machine, ‘artificial silk’ – which became known as Rayon – caused a sensation at the Paris Exhibition. In 1891, commercial production of the new fabric began.
Rayon, however, was still plant-based. It wasn’t better – just significantly cheaper than natural fibres such as silk. But in 1939, DuPont began production of nylon – a textile derived from petrochemicals that was in many ways the precursor of many of the man-made fabrics we know today such as polyester, Kevlar and Nomex.