Amazing is the relation between textile development and other industries and innovations. In a previous article we wrote about how the Jacquard machine and how it was considered to be the first computer. For textile industry, being a very vital industry, a trace of developments can be found in many inventions not talking about their wide range of applications that reach as far the space exploration has taken us.
So, what is the relationship between textile industry and the electrical bulb? Well, during the development of man made fibre in the mid of 1800s, where the first “Artificial Silk” patent where granted for creating a fibrous solution from the inner bark of a mulberry tree that can be used to create an artificial silk yarn. Later in the 1880s Joseph Wilson Swan (1828 – 1914), a British chemist and electrician and during his attempts to create a long lasting electric light he used the artificial silk fibrous solution and forces out through fine holes (currently called extrusion spinning) into a coagulating bath and used in his bulb. Some of his filament found their way to be used early in Thomas Edison’s inventions.
Swan demonstrated that his filament could be used for textiles as well and in 1885 he exhibited some crochet fabrics made by his wife but the electrical bulb was his focus and abandoned the idea to apply it to textiles.
It is worth mentioning that four years later, a French chemist named Count Hilaire de Chardonnet was able to exhibit his “Artificial Silk” fabric in Paris and two years later he built the first commercial Rayon plant and made the name “father of the rayon industry”.