When John Whinfield and James Dickson, two British scientists invented polyester, an artificial (synthetic) material in 1941 it became a favourite.
Polyester is made from oil that contains polyethylene terephathalate (PET) which is made out of petroleum. This is what Whinfield and Dickson got the licence for.
Whinfield and Dickson’s invention of polyester was based on the invention of nylon, which was invented in the 1930s.
Polyester is often mixed with other types of fibre, mainly cotton. It is easy to care for and shape and colour is kept well. It also does not crush very easily.
With all these good qualities, the biggest disadvantage of this fabric is that it traps body heat and sweat. It is not considered “breathable”. This makes it uncomfortable to wear.
Recently the polyester market has picked up after having reduced production over a number of years.
The main reason for this is the increase of a type of fibre called ‘microfiber’. When this is mixed with polyester it softens it and makes it more wearable than before.
Polyester is used to make shirts, pants, costumes, and even bed linen. Polyester fleece, a type of polyester is used to make wetsuits, sleeping bags, overcoats and climbing suits.
Clothes are not the only things made out of polyester. Even plastic bottles, balloons, and rope are manufactured using this very versatile synthetic material.
Because the basis of the polyester fibre is petroleum, people expect the price of polyester goods to increase as we run out of oil and oil becomes expensive.
Even with all these problems, polyester is considered a strong and easy to care fabric that has made many other articles possible.