The discovery of Tyvek® was a chance occurrence by a DuPont researcher, Jim White, who in 1955 noticed white polyethylene fluff coming out of a pipe in a DuPont experimental lab. A program to develop the new material was set up, and a year later DuPont submitted a patent proposal for strong yarn linear polyethylene.
The proprietary flash-spinning technology, which is the basis for what was to become DuPont’s new engineered sheet structure, took several more years to perfect. In 1959, a pilot facility was established for trial applications such as book covers, tags, labels and certain garments. In 1965, the new engineered sheet structure was registered under the trademark name Tyvek®, but it was not until April 1967 that commercial production of Tyvek® started.