When the world’s first nylon manufacturing plant started production in Seaford in 1939, there were only a few applications for the new “miracle fiber.” As the site celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, nylon-based products—from fabric for military uniforms and other clothing, to engineered polymers for automotive applications, to fibers in carpet and air bags—are now integrated into daily life for people around the world.
Seaford, Delaware/USA – To mark this milestone anniversary, the State of Delaware Public Archives commissioned a historical marker that was unveiled at the site today. Representatives from local, state and federal government joined Invista leadership at the ceremony.
“We would like to thank the Seaford community for contributing to this site’s strong heritage,” said Brian Nixon, Invista Seaford site manager. “During the past 75 years, the Seaford site has evolved in response to an ever-changing marketplace. Thanks to our employees’ dedication and willingness to change with the market, we are proud to remain a productive and value-adding site in our community.”
Invista’s Seaford site manufactures nylon fiber for uniforms for the U.S. military, flame-resistant clothing for work-wear applications, nylon fiber for press felts used in paper manufacturing, and other industrial end-use products. In addition, the site also makes nylon fiber for Cordura brand fabric outdoor and lifestyle clothing, including Cordura Baselayer, Denim and Cordura Canvas fabric technologies.
The plant is located on approximately 648 acres adjacent to the Nanticoke River. In addition, Invista has designated 80 acres as wildlife habitat and has donated 146 acres to the Nanticoke River Watershed Conservancy for conservation purposes.
Nylon Production In War and Peace
The Seaford site was built and originally operated by DuPont. Construction of the initial facility began in March 1939, and the facility started operations on Dec. 12, 1939—just nine months after the initial groundbreaking. DuPont sold the plant in 2004. It had changed the name of this and other portions of its business to Invista prior to the sale. For the past decade, Invista has operated the Seaford site and is proud to be part of the Seaford community and its strong nylon legacy.
The development of nylon was a breakthrough in synthetically engineered fibers and transformed the textile industry. Consumers embraced nylon’s significant physical properties—including tremendous strength, toughness and high resistance to abrasion. During World War II, the Seaford site produced nylon for use in military parachutes, tents and mosquito netting.