Police ask: Is city still the Nylon Capital of World?

By Lynn R. Parks

The logo “Nylon Capital of the World” is no longer a part of the arm patches worn by members of the Seaford Police Department. Last week, at the department’s request, the city council voted unanimously and without discussion to replace the phrase with, “Serving since 1865.” “Seaford is no longer the nylon capital of the world,” said police Chief Gary Morris. “That’s just the way it is.” Morris said that he decided to change the logo following suggestions that “came up through the ranks.” Younger members of the department do not remember a time when nylon and the Seaford DuPont plant were king, he said. “We are trying to give them something to be proud of, something that they can relate to,” he said. The new logo will generate pride in the department, he said, and boost community spirit. The city council approved the change pending verification that 1865 is in fact an appropriate date. Morris said that the department selected the date because the city hired its first constable in April 1865. The city’s official business slogan is “Rich in History - Focused on the Future.” But the logo “Nylon Capital of the World” is part of the city seal. It is also on the signs that welcome drivers on US 13 to the city. And, said Mayor Dan Short, it should remain there.
“I can understand why the police department wanted the change, and if that’s what the majority of the council wants, it’s OK,” he said. “But I think that history is important. I really like the history of our city and I think you have to know where you’ve been to understand where you’re going.” The city was dubbed Nylon Capital of the World after the $8.5 million DuPont nylon plant was built here in 1939. The synthetic fiber was patented by the DuPont Company shortly before that and the Seaford plant was the first, and for a time the only, in the world to manufacture the material. In its first year, the plant produced enough nylon yarn for 64 million pairs of nylon stockings, according to the DuPont Co. During World War II, it made nylon for parachutes and B-29 bomber tires. But since then, the plant’s fortunes have faded. It has gone from employing 4,000, in its heyday in the 1960s, to about 650 today. In 2003, its production accounted for less than 5 percent of the nylon produced worldwide. The plant makes about 200 million pounds of nylon a year. The plant was sold to a DuPont subsidiary, DuPont Textiles and Interiors, in February 2003. In September, that subsidiary’s name was changed to Invista. DuPont announced in November that it was selling Invista, including the Seaford plant, to Koch (pronounced “koke”) Industries Inc. for $4.4 billion. The sale is expected to be complete by the end of March. Plant manager Brenda Wilson said that she expects the plant to remain open following the sale. “We make a very good product here,” she said. Short said that, even if nylon production fades completely from Seaford, Nylon Capital of the World should remain a part of the city’s description. “Generations from now, people might wonder how it got there, and they will have to look it up,” he said. “That way, they will learn our history.”

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