1928 Waynesboro, Virginia
DuPont acquired 153 acres near the small town of Waynesboro, Va., in late 1928 as a manufacturing site for acetate rayon fibers. Although the company had already established viscose rayon facilities in Buffalo, N.Y., Waynesboro became the only plant devoted to the acetate process. Production of yarn began in November 1929 and a year later the Rayon Technical Division Acetate Research Laboratories were established at the site.
By the time acetate production peaked in the early 1950s, researchers at Waynesboro were already beginning to develop new products. In 1944 the Acetate Research Section had taken over development of a product called “Fiber A.” The road from research to product line proved a rocky one, but was eventually successful. Demand for the product marketed as Orlon soared and an additional plant was built, allowing Waynesboro to produce 40 million pounds annually after 1958.
By then the market for acetate was disappearing. Production at Waynesboro was cut back and the Acetate Research Section was closed. A replacement was in the wings however; DuPont had decided to use Waynesboro’s Orlon spinning cells for the manufacture of Lycra elastane. Semi-commercial production began in 1960, and full production followed two years later.
The Lycra trademark and Lycra products were divested as part of the INVISTA separation in April 2004.