Friday, 1 June 2012

Aaron Feuerstein, a nice guy

I was just looking at my brand new cheapo fleece 'jogging bottoms' (though happily they will never go jogging) and i couldn't tell if it was a woven or knitted fabric so fine were the 'fibres.' I wondered if maybe it was simply extruded in a loose flat 'mat' or 'sheet,' and not woven at all.

So i got on the internet just to look up this one fact - 'How do they make fleece fabric?'

But I ended up also reading a little bit on synthetic yarns, circular knitting machines and even knitting in general. (being generally fascinated with ropes and knots and rigging, 'kinitting' made a deep impression on me, and was even more deeply impressed with the idea of 'circular knitting' - it seems basically, 'knitting' is exactly the same as 'knotting' but on on a very small scale - and 'netting' must come into it as well. Knotting, Netting & Knitting.)

I think, then, that the modern fleece was invented at Malden Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts, with the invention of 'Polarfleece' which saved the almost bankrupt firm. It is or was run by one Aaron Feurstein, its third generation owner.

 It seems this man, Aaron Feurstein, deliberately neglected to patent 'polar fleece,' allegedly to allow other textile plants to copy the process. (In the business world, most businessmen would have called that a bad decision.)

Not only that, when the mill burnt down, he rebuilt it from the insurance settlement, and he rebuilt it in the town, not in the far east. (the business economy being so poor, most businessmen would have called that a bad decision).

He also kept his employees salaries going for 6 months during the shutdown. (Many businessmen would and did call that a bad decision.)

So the next time you slip on a brand new, ridiculously warm, cheap, clean, soft, fluffy, lightweight, easy to wash&dry and ecofreindly fleece thing; now you know.

You know that there's probably a bizarre story behind practically everything.

 (And btw it is made from good quality polyester, recycled from used bottles, heated then cooled to a syrupy texture then extruded into hair-fine fibres. These are crimped, carded, spun and then 'knitted' on a circular knitting machine. It knits into a huge tube of fabric around 1.5M across. It is then 'napped' to raise up the fibres, and then it is shorn smooth with mechanical shears.)


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