Pathways of the Perlon-Knowledge
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The starting point for the development and production of the polyamide fibre Perlon was the discovery that caprolactam was polymerizable and that it was possible to spin the polycaprolactam. This event took place in the laboratory of a German chemist Paul Schlack (1897-1987), in January of 1938 at the Fa. AcetA-Werk GmbH in Berlin-Lichtenberg. The AcetA-Werk was founded by the IG Farbenindustrie and the Vereinigte Glanzstoff-Fabriken AG in Bobingen, Bavaria, in 1925. With this achievement, Schlack created the basis for a German product competing with the US-American Nylon fibre. The beginning of World War II promoted a rapid construction of a large scale production of Perlon silk used specifically for making parachutes and tyres (reinforced by cord silk) for the German Air Force. The place of production became Landsberg an der Warthe (at present Gorzów Wielkopolski in Poland) and the production began in the spring of 1943. The chemist Hermann Klare (1909-2003) became the head of the fabric part of the factory. The heavier the bombing by the western allies of Berlin, the more important institutions were subsequently evacuated. Some parts of the laboratory of Paul Schlack were moved to the Vereinigte Glanzstoff-Fabriken AG in Bobingen in the end of 1944. In April of 1945, Schlack proceeded with 9 boxes of knowhow to the Agfa-Werk in Wolfen in Central Germany. There, in April of 1945, he fell into the hands of the US Army. In the end, he reached the Vereinigte Glanzstoff-Fabriken AG in Bobingen which had already become the American occupation zone. There, he succeeded in establishing the first large production of Perlon fibre in Western Germany which started in January of 1950. The Perlon fibre factory in Landsberg fell, nearly undamaged, into the hands of the Red Army in January of 1945. It was dismantled and moved as reparations to the town Klin in Russia. The great interest of the Soviet Union in establishing an own Perlon production, led after the war to the decision that the pilot projects for producing Perlon silk - still present in the Soviet occupation zone - had to be continued. This process started already in the summer of 1945. Hermann Klare who after the war lived in the Soviet occupation zone, became soon the head of the pilot project in Schwarza/Thuringia. Such pilot projects were also places of learning for Soviet fibre-specialists. This transfer of knowledge was a necessary precondition for the reconstruction of the former Landsberg factory, now residing in Klin. Moreover, Klare and some other German specialists were integrated in this task and had to work in Klin from 1947 to 1949. In the summer of 1949, there started the large scale production (5 tons per day) of Soviet Perlon fibre. It was called Kapron.
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