The polymer that became polyester has roots in the 1929 writings of Wallace Carothers. However, DuPont chose to concentrate on the more promising nylon research. When DuPont resumed its polyester research, ICI had patented Terylene polyester, to which DuPont purchased the U.S. rights in 1945 for further development. In 1950 a pilot plant at the Seaford, Del., facility produced Dacron fiber with modified nylon technology. DuPont opened its huge Kinston, N.C., plant in 1953 to produce Dacron.
Kinston, N.C., is the site of the world’s first plant devoted to the commercial production of polyester fiber. DuPont invested $3 million in a laboratory and $40 million in production facilities on the 10-acre site, and began the manufacture of Dacron in 1953. DuPont’s arrival in Kinston added some 5,000 people to the city’s population. Despite fluctuations in the synthetic fiber market over the years, DuPont has kept the Kinston plant open continuously, although two filament production lines were closed in 1998.
That same year, employees marked DuPont’s 45th anniversary in Kinston with a remarkable safety achievement, including records for the fewest on-the-job injuries and fewest combined on-and-off-job injuries ever. Having reduced its pollution levels by some 2.3 million pounds over the years, the Kinston plant has achieved distinction for its environmental record, winning the North Carolina Governor’s Excellence in Waste Reduction Award and a Certificate for Significant Achievement from the North Carolina Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources Office of Waste Reduction.
The Dacron trademark and Dacron products were divested as part of the INVISTA separation in April 2004. Today, Kinston produces Sorona.