Cordura was one of DuPont's most popular fiber products. Its origin dates to 1929 when chemists at the DuPont Rayon Company succeeded in strengthening relatively weak rayon filaments into fibers suitable for use as sewing threads and tire cords. Subsequent tests on commercial vehicles proved that the new rayon lengthened the life span of tires, so in November 1934 DuPont started production of Cordura durable cord rayon
Research during World War II improved Cordura and enabled its manufacture on standard rayon production equipment, thereby boosting both quality and output. The tendency of Cordura to strengthen when heated led to its extensive use in military tires made from synthetic rubber, which ran hotter than natural rubber.
Consequently, Cordura became widely known as an essential product for America's war effort. In 1950 DuPont introduced Super Cordura tire yarn, but Super Cordura faced a formidable rival in another DuPont product, nylon. After performance tests in the 1950s showed nylon's superiority, DuPont phased out Super Cordura and replaced it with a new industrial nylon yarn called N-56. The last Super Cordura rayon plant closed in 1963 as DuPont officially exited the rayon business.
In 1966 DuPont transferred the Cordura brand name to the N-56 nylon product line. In 1977 DuPont researchers discovered a process for dyeing Cordura, which opened a wide variety of commercial applications. By 1979 soft-sided Cordura luggage had captured about 40 percent of the luggage market. In the 1980s DuPont expanded its Cordura line into sporting apparel and equipment, including boots and shoes, golf and ski bags, and backpacks. A softer version called Cordura Plus entered the market in 1988. Subsequent improvements made Cordura even lighter in weight and gave the fabric greater protection against fading from sunlight and washing. In 1996, Cordura Plus Natural, with the look and feel of natural cotton canvas, became immediately popular with sporting goods and marine apparel manufacturers.
The Cordura trademark and Cordura products were divested as part of the INVISTA separation in April 2004.