Fabric foundations 1920s

A farewell to fire

In April 1929 the Review magazine predicted “that a big and profitable field for commercial development was the ‘fireproofing of canvas.’”

The fireproof-waterproof treatment of canvas was destined for history through its use in Admiral Richard Byrd’s Antarctic expeditions. Because of the extreme cold at the South Pole, the motors of the airplanes could not be started until they had been warmed to liquefy the congealed oil. Plain canvas covers had been used over planes but they caught fire.

In November 1929, the famous flight to the South Pole was launched. Fireproof and waterproof covers were used that had been treated by Price Fire & Waterproofing Co. and furnished by Baker Carver & Morrell Inc. The fireproofing of the canvas duck was critical to the success of the expedition.


The BAND-AID® brand adhesive bandage was invented by Johnson & Johnson employee Earle Dickson. BAND-AIDs went on the market the following year as the first commercial dressing consumers could apply themselves on small wounds.

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Known informally as the “fridge,” the first self-contained refrigerator unit for homes was introduced by General Electric, allowing both the mechanical parts and cold box to be stored together. Photo: GE.

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John Logie Baird, a Scottish engineer, successfully transmitted the first television picture in his laboratory. In 1928 he went on to demonstrate the first color transmission.

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The development of the bread-slicing machine by Otto Frederick Rohwedder led to the advertising phrase “the greatest step forward in the baking industry since bread was wrapped,” today heard as, “the greatest thing since sliced bread.”

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