Nylons. Huh? What are those? In case you aren’t familiar with the formerly ubiquitous leg covering (aka hosiery), check out this pair. These finely-woven, leg-shaped tubes of what is basically plastic were part of a costume belonging to the Hole in the Day Players of Little Falls. The Hole in the Day Players were a popular drama troupe that performed in the Little Falls area from 1978 to 1993 and then again for a short period starting in 2012.
The world’s first synthetic fiber, nylon was discovered in 1935 by a scientist working for the DuPont Corporation. A product based on chemicals found in petroleum, nylon is strong, durable and long-lasting, making it a sure replacement for silk in stockings. The reinforced soles and banded leg openings that are part of the structure of this pair of nylons were a necessary addition for the areas most likely to receive wear. According to the American Oil & Gas Historical Society, the new fiber was not formally announced until four years later in 1939 when it was introduced to a group of Women’s Club members, a key target audience. The product was an instant success (https://www.aoghs.org/products/petroleum-product-nylon-fiber/. Accessed 4 November 2020.)
A must for any “properly” dressed female by the mid-20th century, nylons are still worn today but are not nearly as ubiquitous.
~ Ann Marie Johnson, Preservationist