For most of us, Nylon has been around for ever. For the most part, all of the tents that I own are made out of nylon. But, prior to 1931, if you wanted to purchase anything that was made of or contained nylon, you couldn't... it was not invented yet.
In 1931 American chemist Wallace H. Carothers told the world about a new fiber he called "66". It was later named nylon and nicknamed the "miracle fiber". Nylon was made from petro-chemicals, which are found in petroleum and natural gas.
The first experiments used nylon as sewing thread, in parachute fabric, and in women's hosiery. But in December 1941, the United States entered World War II and every bit of nylon was needed for parachutes, tires, tents, ropes, ponchos, and other military supplies. It was even used for high-grade paper for U.S. money.
After the war, the demand for nylon stockings was so enormous that almost all nylon was made into hosiery. By the end of the 1940s, nylon also was being used in carpets and automobile seats.
Textile Merit Badge Book, pg 23 | Photo Credit: @troop2riverside