Tuesday 11 March 2014

Parachute Silk

Last September I posted a picture of a 1940s lingerie pattern which included instructions for laying the pattern pieces on panels of parachute silk.  Since then I have come across a gem of a second hand book - all the 1960 editions of the company magazine of British Nylon Spinners. There is a fascinating article about parachutes, which includes the wartime reminiscences of six BNS men who had been paratroopers.

These photographs were taken during a visit by members of BNS to GQ Parachute Company at Woking.

I'm not taken in by the coy nudge nudge caption (oh how very 1960).  Tom Squire only has eyes for the sewing machine.

It was interesting finding out that from some time in 1941 parachutes were no longer made from silk but from nylon.  Perhaps from now on I should refer to nylon as parachute silk.  It sounds far more exotic.


  1. Loved your vintage photos of the parachute factory. It must have been something, cranking out parachutes for the war effort. FYI, my mom remembered when silk stockings became rare during the war, and ladies painted a stripe down the back of their legs for a look-alike! Then "nylons" became available, and women thought they were the cat's meow. Must have been the same time frame as these parachutes.

    1. Hello KQ,
      Yes, my mum told me about the line painting, too. She also told me girls would buy potassium permanganate crystals from the chemist to make a brown wash on the skin for fake stockings.



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