Pantyhose and Nylons - Background History - Who was the Inventor of Pantyhose ?

Pantyhose (tights - as some people call it as well) are sheer, close fitting coverings of the body from the waist to the feet, most frequently worn by women. The one-piece pantyhose garment appeared in the 1960s and provided a convenient alternative to stockings (nylons). The term 'pantyhose' originated in the United States, referring to the combination of 'panties' (an American term for women's underpants) with sheer nylon hosiery.

In the United Kingdom, they are called tights, a term that refers to all such garments regardless of whether they are sheer lingerie or sturdy outerwear. In the U.S., the term tights is used for non-sheer garments typically made of a stretchy material like spandex, and worn during exercise or athletic activity, or as utility clothing.

Die Strumpfhose ist ein enganliegendes Beinkleidungsstück (Hose, Beinkleid), das die Füße mit einschließt (ohne Fußteile siehe Leggings). Sie bedeckt den Körper etwa vom Bauchnabel abwärts bis zu den Zehenspitzen. Der Bereich vom Bund bis zum Ansatz der Oberschenkel wird als Höschenteil bezeichnet. Für besseren Tragekomfort und bessere Haltbarkeit ist die Strumpfhose häufig im Schrittbereich (Zwickel) sowie an den Fersen und Spitzen verstärkt. Bei einigen Nylonstrumpfhosen ist das komplette Höschenteil verstärkt, sodass es dicker (und damit dunkler) wirkt als der Rest der Strumpfhose.

Dictionary - pantyhose - pant·y·hose or pant·y hose (păn'tē-hōz') -

Description - A woman's one-piece undergarment consisting of underpants and stretchable stockings.
panty collant strumpfhose καλτσόν collant meia-calça (f)
(Simplified Chinese)
(Traditional Chinese)
连身裤袜 連身褲襪 колготки strumpbyxor, trikåer pantimedias, medibacha パンティーストッキング
‏(الاسم) مشد, جورب نسائي طويل‏ גרביונים, גרבי מכנס

Allen Gant Senior invented pantyhose. In 1959, Glen Raven Mills of North Carolina introduced pantyhose -- underpants and stockings all in one garment. With the addition of an opaque nylon top, panthose eliminated the need for multiple "foundation" garments. In 1965, Glen Raven Mills developed a seamless pantyhose version that coincided with the introduction of the miniskirt. Allen Grant Senior is a descendant of John Gant, who founded the textile mill in 1902.

In 1930, Wallace Hume Carothers, Julian Hill, and other researchers for the DuPont Company studied chains of molecules called polymers, in an attempt to find a substitute for silk. Pulling a heated rod from a beaker containing carbon-and alcohol-based molecules, they found the mixture stretched and, at room temperature, had a silky texture. This work culminated in the production of nylon marking the beginning of a new era in synthetic fibers.

Nylon was first used for fishing line, surgical sutures, and toothbrush bristles. DuPont touted its new fiber as being "as strong as steel, as fine as a spider’s web," and first announced and demonstrated nylon and nylon stockings to the American public at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. To be exact, on October 27, 1938, Charles Stine, vice president of E.I. du Pont de Nemours, Inc., announced that nylon had been invented.

According to The Nylon Drama by authors David A. Hounshell and John Kenly Smith, Jr., "He unveiled the world's first synthetic fiber not to a scientific society but to three thousand women's club members gathered at the site of the 1939 New York World's Fair for the New York Herald Tribune's Eighth Annual Forum on Current Problems. He spoke in a session entitled 'We Enter the World of Tomorrow' which was keyed to the theme of the forthcoming fair, the World of Tomorrow."

According to Dupont Heritage:
"Nylon emerged from research on polymers, very large molecules with repeating chemical structures, that Dr. Wallace Carothers and his colleagues conducted in the early 1930s at DuPont’s Experimental Station. In April 1930, a lab assistant working with esters – compounds which yield an acid and an alcohol or phenol in reaction with water – discovered a very strong polymer that could be drawn into a fiber.

This polyester fiber had a low melting point, however. Carothers changed course and began working with amides, which were derived from ammonia. In 1935, Carothers found a strong polyamide fiber that stood up well to both heat and solvents. He evaluated more than 100 different polyamides before choosing one [nylon] for development."

DuPont built the first full-scale nylon plant in Seaford, Delaware, and began commercial production in late 1939. The company decided not to register nylon as a trademark, according to Dupont they, "choose to allow the word to enter the American vocabulary as a synonym for stockings, and from the time it went on sale to the general public in May 1940, nylon hosiery was a huge success: women lined up at stores across the country to obtain the precious goods."

The first year on the market, DuPont sold 64 million pairs of stockings. That same year, nylon appeared in the movie, The Wizard of Oz, where it was used to create the tornado that carried Dorothy to the Emerald City.

In 1942, nylon went to war in the form of parachutes and tents. Nylon stockings were the favorite gift of American soldiers to impress British women. Nylon stockings were scarce in America until the end of World War II, but then returned with a vengeance. Shoppers crowded stores, and one San Francisco store was forced to halt stocking sales when it was mobbed by 10,000 anxious shoppers.

Julie Newmar, a living Hollywood film and television legend is an inventor in her own right. The former Cat Woman patented ultra-sheer, ultra-snug pantyhose. Known for her work in films such as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Slaves of Babylon, Newmar has also appeared recently in Fox Television’s Melrose Place and the hit feature-film "To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything, Love Julie Newmar."

Today, nylon is still used in all types of apparel and is the second most used synthetic fiber in the United States.

Pantyhose (known as Tights in the UK) are tight fitting coverings of the body from the waist to the feet, normally worn by women. Like stockings they are usually made of nylon.

The term 'pantyhose' is exclusively American, referring to the combination of 'panties' (an American term for women's undergarment) with hosiery. The one-piece pantyhose was a substantial improvement that appeared in the 1960's because it provided a convenient alternative to stockings. In North America, the term tights is used to describe leggings, a garment similar to pantyhose, but which is thicker and more commonly worn by girls, dancers, and athletes.

Pantyhose are worn for a number of reasons. Sheer pantyhose that match the skin color of the legs can enhance the appearance of legs, making them look smoother. Darker pantyhose can enhance the legs by outlining the shape and by making the legs seem slimmer. Brown colored pantyhose give to illusion of tan legs, an 'instant tan'. Pantyhose also has practical use, as it can provide warmth in colder weather and let women go "bare-legged" even in the winter. Pantyhose can even enhance blood circulation by applying even pressure on the legs throughout the day.

Pantyhose are available in a wide range of styles. The sheerness of the garment, expressed as a numerical 'denier'/'dtex', ranges from 3 (extremely rare, very thin, barely visible) to 20 (standard sheer) up to 30 (semi opaque). The terms denier and dtex refer to the weight of the yarn in grams at a standard length: for denier, it is 9,000, for dtex, 10,000 meters. Thus, 1 Denier = 1g of yarn when 9,000 meters long.

Pantyhose also come in a variety of colors, from gray/black or skin tone common in business wear to brightly colored styles fashionable among young women.

Most pantyhose are composed of nylon and spandex, which provides the elasticity and form fitting that this characteristic of modern pantyhose. Unfortunately, the nylon fabric is somewhat prone to tearing and it is common for very sheer hose to 'run' soon after snagging on something sharp.

Pantyhose worn for fashion have a standard construction. The top of the waist is a strong elastic. The part covering the hips (boxer/brief area) is composed of a thicker material than the legs. The gusset or crotch is also a stronger material, sometimes made of cotton. The legs of the pantyhose are made of the thinnest material which has a consistent construction down to the toes, which may be reinforced to guard against wear.

Interestingly, hose for the legs were a male fashion (for example among European and American aristocrats during the 16th Century), while women hid their legs from public view. This trend reversed, however, with men wearing trousers and women exposing their legs. In the 20th Century, pantyhose have been marketed to women exclusively.

However, in recent years some versions for men have appeared in the marketplace, touted for warmth as well as for appearance, improved blood circulation, and comfort. Surprisingly enough, pantyhose for men have been part of the War in Iraq. "One item U.S. military personnel in Iraq are asking for is pantyhose. Now, that might give some people pause, but pantyhose are one way that military personnel can protect themselves from pesky sand fleas."

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