Nylon Stockings: "Story of a Star" 1956 Deering Milliken

By: Jeff Quitney

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Uploaded on December 28, 2011 by Jeff Quitney Powered by YouTube

more at http://clothing.quickfound.net/ "Chemistry gives birth to new synthetics benefitting women, in this case sheer stockings." Public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archive, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied. The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and equalization. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylon Nylon is a thermoplastic, silky material, first used commercially in a nylon-bristled toothbrush (1938), followed more famously by women's stockings ("nylons"; 1940). It is made of repeating units linked by amide bonds and is frequently referred to as polyamide (PA). Nylon was the first commercially successful synthetic polymer. There are two common methods of making nylon for fiber applications. In one approach, molecules with an acid (-COOH) group on each end are reacted with molecules containing amine (-NH2) groups on each end. The resulting nylon is named on the basis of the number of carbon atoms separating the two acid groups and the two amines. These are formed into monomers of intermediate molecular weight, which are then reacted to form long polymer chains. Nylon was intended to be a synthetic replacement for silk and substituted for it in many different products after silk became scarce during World War II. It replaced silk in military applications such as parachutes and flak vests, and was used in many types of vehicle tires.... TIME Magazine, February 11, 1946, p. 22 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,854103,00.html: Defense in Depth Manhattan's huge Gimbels department store had big news and bought ads to tell it: GIMBELS HAS NYLONS. Gimbels had 26,000 pairs-- a tantalizing drop in the bucket in the face of the public's raging thirst. So, said Gimbel's ad: Don't think we want to run this advertisement. ...Come if you must. [But] we've taken this large space to point out how uncomfortable you will be.... "Don't be upset if some gentlewoman barks your shins, tickles your tibia, or thwacks your fibula. Don't come at all unless your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure. Don't ask for a special price... don't ask for a brand... take what you can get and be happy...." Most U.S. retail establishments would rather unwrap a beefsteak in a lion's cage than display nylons openly, let alone advertise them. The few who have tried have repented almost immediately-- once in Chicago a horde of irritable females chased a proprietor out a fire escape when his supply of nylons was gone. Not Words Alone. Gimbels did not rely entirely on the persuasive power of words. The thousands of women who spilled in from street and subway discovered that they had to penetrate a defense in depth. The sale was held on the fifth floor, but elevators did not stop there. To reach the scene of battle customers had to take slow escalators or ride elevators to the fourth or sixth floor and go on foot from there. When the crowds grew too thick, Gimbels turned the escalators off. On the fifth floor, combatants were shepherded into a long, wide column. Thirty store detectives patrolled its edges, like cow hands riding herd on the old Chisholm Trail, eyes alert for mavericks. The column wound through vistas of antique furniture and past paintings of cows grazing in sylvan scenes. Once customers sighted the nylon counters, they found themselves in a maze of waist-high fences. To get out they had to make nine turns, pass through ten narrow aisles. All day long, like a vast peashooter, the mouth of the maze emitted women, one by one. Each emerged with a look of indescribable triumph, trotted to the counter bearing her size, was handed a paper bag containing a pair of stockings, and hurried on. Ten cash registers, each manned by two cashiers, clanged like tocsins. By nightfall, 26,000 customers had carried off 26,000 pairs of nylons and not one woman had pulled a pearl-handled revolver out of her handbag.
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