Tuesday, May 19, 2009

*My* Life with Those Who Should Be Made Saints (I)

Looks like we have Joseph Clois Shivers, Jr. to thank for segmented copolymers (United States Patent 3044989) better known as spandex. Shivers developed this fabulous fiber in 1959, after a decade of research while employed by DuPont, which later baptized it "Lycra."

His invention soon replaced the sturdy rubber typically used in constructing undergarments (e.g., girdles). Unlike rubber, spandex is incorruptible, defying the corrosive nature of body sweat, lotions, or detergents. Lighter than rubber, spandex is blended with other fibers to make clothing that can snap back to original shape after being stretched up to 600%. These factoids give me the shivers.

Looks like Mr. Shivers has already received the coveted Olney Award for Achievement in Textile Chemistry. But does that industry-based award fully recognize his contribution to all humanity? I think not. I think he should be declared a saint. I am willing and able to give compelling testimony to affirm, so to speak, the miraculous powers of spandex.

St. Shivers! Kind of snappy, don't you think?


  1. So if I pray to St. Shivers will my body stay in the same shape after I take the spandex off as it is when I have the spandex on? Just wondering.... :)

  2. Well, that would certainly qualify as a miracle. Are you suggesting that it be a criterion for beatification? How rigorous.

  3. I never was a fan of spandex mainly because I am underweight so it dose more damage than good for me but I can see your point :). It is interesting to find a post like this, unexpected for me, but I only started to read your articles so please surprise me! :)

    Pray with us!

  4. Dear Monica,
    Unexpected? Happy to provide surprise and, hopefully, delight. As you'll see, I like to move between sacred and secular.

  5. So let me get this straight. This copolymer is a molecule, right? So why can't it be put in creams, and make-up and a pill?
    Any chemical engineers out there?
    As for Monica, don't ruin our spandex love/hate relationship. For you there's linen, organic cotton, silk and leather.


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