​Almanac: Teflon

And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: June 26th, 1910, 106 years ago today ... a date that surely should STICK in our memories.

For that's the birthday of Roy Plunkett, the accidental inventor of a remarkable NON-stick substance.


Roy Plunkett

CBS News

Plunkett was a DuPont chemist working with gases in the late 1930s when an experiment unexpectedly produced a mysterious white powder. The slippery stuff turned out to have multiple military applications ... and even helped in making the first atomic bomb.

In 1945, DuPont trademarked its miraculous discovery, mercifully shortening its chemical name (Poly-tetra-flouro-ethylene) to the more user-friendly name: Teflon.

And for all its industrial and electronic uses, most of us know it best thanks to our non-stick kitchen pots and pans.

Over the years, Teflon's praises have been sung in many a TV commercial.


Teflon pans.

CBS News

As for Roy Plunkett, he went on to make many more discoveries ... many of them judged to be critical to our national defense.

He died in 1994, just shy of his 84th birthday. But his name lives on in the form of DuPont's annual Plunkett Award.

And his Teflon lives on, too ... on stove tops all over the land.

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