What is the history and origin of gore-tex fabric?
Gore-Tex fabric was invented by the founder of W.L. Gore and Associates, Wilbert L. Gore and Robert W. Gore in 1969. Wilbert L. Gore started his career in the 1940s at the DuPont Corporation where he came across a plastic material called PTFE. he became fascinated with PTFE. in 1958, he left his job at DuPont to research further on this plastic material. With his wife and his son, a lot of experiments were done by Wilbert to explore the untapped potentials of PTFE.
In the year 1969, while experimenting with PTFE, he stretched heated rods of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) accidentally and created expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). This discovery of his was an accidental invention that was born out of frustration. Instead of slowly stretching the heated rod, he applied a sudden stretch because of which the rod stretched over 1000%. The result was a highly porous material that was more than 70% air. This material was introduced in the market to the public under the trademark Gore-Tex.
After this material W.L. Gore and Associates applied for a variety of patents for their new material. A lot of similar technologies were invented and launched in the market especially after the expiry of the main Gore-Tex patent. W.L. Gore and Associates introduced GORE-SEAM tape in 1979 to improve the waterproofing of GORE-TEX apparel. After this Gore-Tex material was also used in the spacesuits worn by astronauts. The first GORE-TEX footwear booties were launched in 1982. In 2003 GORE-TEX gloves were launched and in 2006 GORE-TEX Pro line was launched. In 2016, a highly lightweight GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY line was launched and in 2017 GORE-TEX Invisible Fit was launched which is a footwear waterproofing technology.