Inventor of the Week Archive
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Naturally colored cotton
When Sally Fox first saw brown cotton seeds and lint, she had no idea she
was about to become a pioneer.
Fox began her life as an inventor in 1982 in Davis, California, as a
handspinner for a cotton breeder. Although cottons are usually bleached
white, then dyed to suit the needs of the clothing manufacturer, Fox fell
in love with their natural brown color. Noticing that the fiber was
significantly shorter, weaker and thinner than that of commercial white
varieties, and therefore difficult to spin, Fox went to work on selecting
the best possible quality brown cottons, hand-ginning each seed and
hand-spinning the fiber. Year after year, she planted the best of the
yield and designed and spun a series of unique yarns that could be made
only with her naturally colored cottons.
Two of the numerous advantages of naturally colored cottons are: they
eliminate the need for the dyeing and finishing steps so detrimental to the
environment, and they are innately more fire-resistant than white cotton.
Fox has received a patent and three Plant Variety Protection Certificates
for her naturally colored cottons which, in addition to browns, she now
grows in reds and greens. Her invention has been so popular it has sprouted
two successful companies -- Vreseis, Ltd. and Natural Cotton Colours, both
operating in Arizona.