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The History of Wrinkle-Free Cotton

Wrinkle-free cotton was first developed by chemist Ruth Rogan Benerito. She studied at Sophie Newcomb College, the women's college of Tulane University, before earning her M.S. from Tulane and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She began teaching at Randolph-Macon Women's College and also at Tulane University, but in 1953, she began working with the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Southern Regional Research Center. Her specialty at the USDA was using cellulose chemistry to solve practical problems in the textile, wood, and paper industries. During the course of her research, she discovered that when specific reagents were bonded to cellulose, the cellulose fibers would not form creases. Further research improved upon her initial discoveries, but Ruth is credited with discovering wrinkle-resistant cotton. Today, wrinkle-free cotton is used in clothing as well as for other applications.

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