Did you know that on this day in 1939, nylon stockings were sold for the first time in Wilmington, Delaware by the DuPont Corporation? Theyâ€™d been introduced at the Worldâ€™s Fair earlier in the year and were met with wild enthusiam.
Because before nylon, stockings were typically made out of silk, which was delicate and expensive, or cotton, which was durable and affordable, but also very hot. Nylon offered the delicacy of silk without the expense, and women rejoiced. They also snapped them up in record amounts.
When the United States entered World War 2 in 1941, Du Pont stopped making nylon stockings and started using the nylon for parachutes instead. Fashionable women, ever resourceful, went bare-legged and drew a line down the back of their legs to give the illusion of stockings (hosiery was cut and sewn together in those days, before the introduction of the tubular weaving machines used today).
When Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip in November 1947, she was given thousands of pairs of nylon stockings as wedding gifts from her subjects â€“ a sign of devotion yet sacrifice in the United Kingdom, where nylon stockings were heavily rationed in the years following the war.