Gore-Tex Waterproof Clothing Inventor Robert Gore Dies Aged 83

Robert Gore invented the Gore-Tex technology while working for his father's company.
Fabienne Lang

You've most probably heard of the outdoor clothing brand, Gore-Tex. It is worn by hikers, cyclists, runners, and walkers alike all around the world as the clothing is incredibly waterproof, yet breathable — ideal for outdoor activities.

The inventor of this Gore-Tex technology, Robert (Bob) W. Gore, died last Thursday at age 83, as confirmed by the company WL Gore & Associates


Chemical concoction

The Gore-Tex fabric has been in use since Bob Gore, a chemical engineer by trade discovered it in 1976. Gore took over from his father, Bill Gore, who had started the business along with his wife, Vieve Gore in 1958. Then he became CEO of WL Gore & Associates, as per the BBC's reporting.

Gore-Tex Waterproof Clothing Inventor Robert Gore Dies Aged 83
Bob Gore (left), with his parents Vieve and Bill Gore. Source: WL Gore & Associates

Bob Gore discovered the material you now use or see all too often in Gore-Tex clothing, as well as for other uses, in the company lab in 1969. It was a new type of polymer, which he discovered after numerous attempts of stretching and yanking PTFE, a versatile material.

The PTFE stretched by 1,000% and created a microporous new material that Gore named ePTFE. This new material was able to be used to make a fabric that had miniature pores smaller than rain droplets. And it was waterproof, yet still breathable. This is how Gore-Tex was invented. 

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Aside from outdoor clothing, Gore-Tex is also used in medical devices such as heart patches, guitar strings, space suits, as well as vacuum bags, per Delaware Online's report last year. 

Gore-Tex Waterproof Clothing Inventor Robert Gore Dies Aged 83
Bob Gore and Gore-Tex outerwear. Source: WL Gore & Associates

Bob Gore was the company's CEO until he stepped down in 2000.

The company commemorated Gore by writing "His scientific discoveries spawned Gore-Tex Outerwear and changed countless lives and industries. Bob's impact will live on, and we will continue to work each day to build on his legacy."

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