The Polyester Tie; World's Synthetic Fashion Steel

by Mark Ward February 16, 2017

The Polyester Tie; World's Synthetic Fashion Steel

Quick Polyester Tie History

Polyester tie fabric is what we use to make our Narwhal's unique wallets.  The reason is simple, it wears like steel!  No matter the abuse you give it, it rarely wrinkles, takes all kinds of abuse through washing and wear and it still holds up.   It's quick, cheap and easy.  The "wonder" fabric invented in 1941 by British scientists John Whinfield and James Dickson opened up many new fields, including fashion wear.  In 1946, DuPont purchased the rights to produce polyester and by the 1950's a factory in Delaware began to produce it.

Manufacturing Process

​The process may appear cumbersome, but like most synthetics, begins with oil.  By breaking down the hydrocarbon's molecules in oil, the end result is two smalle molecules, one called ethylene gycol and the other dimethyl naphthalate.  Both of these molecules are still make complete of oxygen carbon and hydrogen atoms.  Despite these substances coming from the same mother product, oil, when their byproduct of both, one and ester and the other an alcohol, they form molecules with both a positive AND negative charge.  This forces the molecules to line up in chains of crystals that will maintain long fiber strands.

​The resulting polymerized material comes out of the machine in long ribbons, which can be cut into small pieces which are left to harden.  Like many synthetics, the resulting pieces are then melted down and extruded into ribbons.  From there, like the process of spinning cotton, these ribbons are heated up and pulled even thinner until fine threads are formed.  Like cotton, these threads can be weaved into cloth and polyester is born.

Fabric for the Masses

​Due to the availability of the material and ease of production, polyester has been the cheapest kind of cloth since at least the 1960's. Almost half of all clothing made worldwide is produced using polyester. What doomed polyester in the fashion market wasn't the base product itself so much as one of its derivatives, double-knit.  Incredibly durable, it also became synonymous with rough, uncomfortable and difficult for sensitive skin.  Over time, further developments in other fabrics, relegated polyester to a usable, but not most favorable cloth choice and it fell out of favor.

What we love is that all through the 1970's large, fantastic and 100% polyester ties were produced.  Amazing patterns made their way into the ties which today are available for Narwhal's product line.  While not all polyester ties we purchase as raw material holds up, the majority sees years of durable use as wallets and other accessories.

Mark Ward
Mark Ward

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