Polyethylene terephthalate is the Name, Sailbags are our Game

Dunsel’s primarily focuses on recycling Dacron sails into bags. This material is durable and fashionable. 


Sailboat sails need to be tough to survive heavy winds and the raging ocean. In the early days, sails were made out of flax which and sewn on foot-operated spinning wheels. Flax was pliable when wet which was essential for sailing in bad weather but did not hold up over time and became porous. 


Starting in the early nineteen hundred sailors switched to a flax and cotton blend for sails but quickly switched to only using cotton. When paired with the more modern sewing machines they created tight-knit, much stronger sails. The innovation of polyester completely changed the game and this is when dacron comes into the story. 


Dacron is actually the pseudo name and the material’s real name is terylene. Terylene is much firmer and less porous than cotton, which makes it far more suitable for catching the wind efficiently. It is 85% plastic which also makes it hypoallergenic, mold, and mildew resistant. 


Dacron was created by the Dupont company, which was invented about ten years after the first polyester fabric was created. 


Dacron saving lives


Recently, I was eating dinner with my uncle who is a vascular surgeon for one of the largest academic hospitals in the country. After giving my standard pitch about Dunsel’s he asked about the material of the sails we use, and whether it was Dacron. When I let him know that we do indeed use dacron sails he told me about the medical history behind the material.   


In 1955 Sterling Edwards, a surgeon at the University of New Mexico successfully developed a prosthetic Graft that joined arteries together out of Dacron. It is said that he went to the fabric shop looking for another material but they were out. Edwards was shown this great new fabric called Dacron and he proceeded to go home and sew the first successful prosthetic graft. 


I could not stop thinking about how crazy it was that Dacron has medical use as well as being an awesome material to make bags. 


Thank you for reading this week’s blog!

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