The History of Ventile Fabric

turner-twins screenshot-2016-08-12-09-56-01

The long pedigree of the fabric goes back as far as the late 1930’s. With war looming, the British government thought that there would be a shortage of flax that was used in those days for fire hoses and water buckets. An alternative was required and research was commenced into the use of cottons, woven in such a way as to keep water in ! And it worked.

The requirements for research though changed during World War II. Britain depended upon convoys carrying vital supplies, but our Russian convoys across the Arctic Ocean were particularly susceptible to attack from submarines and long – range bombers. Home based RAF fighter escort cover was impossible because of distance.

So, Winston Churchill promoted the concept of catapulting expendable Hurricane aircraft from the decks of merchant ships to provide local cover. There was no means of landing back on the deck. The pilot had the choice of ditching the aircraft or bailing out into the sea. There was no problem in spotting the pilots who had signals and lights, but the water was so cold that life expectancy was only a few minutes. Most died from exposure.

There was an urgent need for a new, protective clothing fabric that would be comfortable in the cockpit under combat conditions and that would also keep a pilot warm and dry in the sea.

After many trials, the scientists at the Shirley Institute in Manchester U.K. developed the fabric called ‘Ventile’. When made into finished garments, life expectancy in the sea was extended from a few minutes to 20 minutes and rescue was now a real possibility. 80% of anti-submarine pilots who fell into the sea now survived.

Ventile® fabrics for RAF clothing went into mass production in 1943 and the military association still remains today. Garment designs have changed over the years but you will still find Ventile® suits in modern Tornado jets with the RAF and other NATO airforces.

Ventile® was the first truly effective all weather fabric whose breathability performance remains unsurpassed. Its secret lies in the uncoated and unlaminated construction. The fabrics are 100% cotton, utilising the finest, long staple fibres, only found in the top 2% of the world’s crop. After gentle spinning and doubling, the yarn is woven into a very dense Oxford weave, using up to 30% more yarn than conventional woven fabrics.

The performance of Ventile® fabrics results from the properties of cotton fibres which expand when they come into contact with water. The combination of fibres, yarns and weave causes expansion in a uniform manner. This allows the interstices within the fabric to close up, preventing the further passage of water. In addition to this, Ventile is impregnated with a high quality DWR system which enhances the fabrics water resistant properties and increases performance.

The fabric therefore provides excellent protection against the wind, rain, snow and cold.

  • WEATHERPROOF
    Ventile® protects you from wind, rain, sleet and snow.
  • WINDPROOF
    The fabric keeps out the wind and hence helps protect from wind chill.
  • BREATHABLE
    Ventile’s very high moisture vapour transmission rate helps keep you dry when active.
  • NATURAL 100% COTTON
    The benefit of cotton with environmental peace of mind.
  • COMFORTABLE
    Enjoy the great outdoors and strolling down the high street in equal comfort.
  • DURABLE
    The fabric is very long lasting. You can expect years of use from garments in Ventile®.
  • QUIET
    Ventile® has no “rustle” and is ideal for camera work, hunting or bird watching where noise would be a problem.
  • RELIABLE
    The fabric’s proven performance over many years means that garments won’t suddenly breakdown unexpectedly.