Sunday, May 24, 2009

Waterproofing

Since Cerise has been talking about oilcloth it sparked interest in some other waterproof fabric. When we were kids and it rained while we were on our property in the mountains, my Dad would string up a big tarpaulin, which was very dark and heavy, and had a strong smell. This was a very old tarp and was actually covered with tar to make it water repellent.
In 1823 Charles Macintosh from Glasgow patented a waterproofing invention that used India rubber (from a ficus tree) mixed with coal tar naptha placed between two sheets of wool. This lead to the manufacture of the Mackintosh raincoat (nobody seems to know why the "k" was added), a classic that is still made today.
Thomas Hancock contributed his knowledge of vulcanized rubber technology, which solved a problem Macintosh had of the fabric becoming sticky with temperature changes. Is this the same guy who started Hancock fabrics? More research will be required! Later on many synthetics came onto the market including Gore-tex, by the invented Gore family. I believe they, too , are in the plastics hall of fame!
J. Crew makes a very handsome Mackintosh for a mere $800 and there are all sorts of vintage coats out there. Or go directly to the Mackintosh site where the two coats listed run about $900. For the women's styles (shown on micro-thin models) you need to request information. Sounds expensive. I suspect they last forever and only the styles change. And maybe you could start a campfire with one.
Theresa, Ommama

1 comment:

OmMama & KraftyKatina said...

Oh, that is great! I don't think I will be experimenting with that for lunch bags though. Bit pricey, aren't they? Thanks for the info mum!!
-C