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When was permanent press invented?

Find out when permanent press, invented to retain creases and pleats indefinitely, was invented.

Permanent press allows clothing to retain creases and pleats indefinitely. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Permanent press allows clothing to retain creases and pleats indefinitely.

The solution to creating a garment that needed no ironing was permanent press, invented by Koret of California in 1961. Permanent press is a term used to describe a fabric or garment which retains its original shape through wear and laundering and needs no ironing. This means it will resist wrinkling and will retain creases and pleats indefinitely. Crease-resistance was first developed for cotton in 1932 by R.S. Willows and his research team for the Manchester textile manufacturer, Tootal Broadhurst Lee. Rather than laminating the fibers with synthetic resin solutions, Willows made the individual cotton fibers absorb the solutiongiving the cotton yarn an elasticity that it otherwise lacked. The first products manufactured using this process were Tootal ties (marketed in autumn 1932) and dress fabrics (marketed in April 1933).

In permanent press, the yarn is treated with a cross-linking chemical or reactant which is then cured (or fixed) by the application of heat. For garments needing creases or pleats, a post-cured process is used, giving the fabric memory. Koret of California developed the process and received a patent in 1961 for its deferred cure process. The first application, in 1964, was for mens and boys pants introduced to the consumer by Levi Strauss and McCampbell Graniteville Co.

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