Thank(?) Joseph Shivers For Spandex
Joseph Shivers was just trying to change the women’s underwear market, but his invention went much farther than that.
The DuPont chemist, who was born on this day in 1920, had worked for the company on polyester, then a new compound, when he “started working on a project to develop a synthetic elastomer to replace rubber, then the mainstay of foundation garments,” writes the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists. Dupont was hoping to find a substance that would do for clothing that used rubber–notably, girdles and other restrictive undergarments generally worn by women–what polyester had done for other clothing.