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Nylon is the most important synthetic fibre, which uses coal as its basic raw material. It is stronger and more elastic than any known fibre. It retains its shape better, dries faster and is more durable than any known fibre. As such the demand for nylon especially for women's hosiery is increasing by leaps and bounds. During the years of World War LI nylon was used in the making of parachutes. Now it is used for men's shirts, women's blouses, underwears, slips, nightclothes, window curtain and high quality cordage. In 1939 the Du Pont Corp. began the first manufacture of nylon in Seaford, Delaware. Nylon is strictly a chemical product, made from coal chemicals and other chemical, air and water. It involves a complicated process and huge capital outlay. As such production is concentrated in few areas.
The U.S.A. is the largest producer of nylon and most of the production comes from three large plants located at (a) Seaford in Delaware, (b) Chattanooga in Tennessee, and (c) Marinsville in Virginia.
The U.S.A. leads all other countries in the production of nylon.
'Terylene' polyester fibre. The basic raw materials for manufacturing polyester fibre are derived from petroleum. Polyester fibre is sold as Terylene in the U.K., as Dacron in the U.S.A., as Trivera in Germany and as Terton in Japan.
Henequeen and Sisal. These plants belong to the xerophytic group and therefore, can thrive well with extremely limited supply of water. The fibres grown in Mexico and Cuba are called henequeen and those in Africa, Asia, Brazil and Haiti are called sisal. Though cultivated in many tropical countries for local consumption for binder, bales, twine and other cords, henequeen and sisal are grown on commercial plantations in East Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Haiti and Cuba which represent more than 75% of the world's production
Ramie. The ramie fibre is remarkable for its strength durability and adaptability to the action of water. Ramie grows well with a rainfall of 90 cm or more, evenly distributed over the growing period and on rolling ground with permeable subsoils. Its commercial production is concentrated in the densely populated parts of China Japan, Korea and Formosa where the plentiful supply of labour are available.
Kapok. Kapok fibre is obtained from the pods of tall trees growing in southeastern Asia, western Africa and tropical America. Mainly an enterprise of small farmers, and though grown in small quantities in many parts of tropical countries, the principal supply of Kapok or silk cotton is obtained from Java in Indonesia, the Philippines and India. Its extreme lightness-six-time lighter than cotton-impermeability to moisture and elasticity make it valuable for stuffing lifebuoys, mattress, cushions and the like. Europe and the United States are the leading customers of kapok.