The Material Industry Loves

Bag straps

You’ve probably seen it. You’ve probably used it. But, you probably didn’t know what it’s called. Webbing, the strong fabric woven as flat strips or tubes, is most often used in place of rope. Though cotton and flax were originally the major components of webbing, synthetic fibers are now much more common. Nylon webbing and polypropylene webbing are the two most common types, and they make appearances in dozens of industries.

Types of Webbing

Nylon

Nylon, a silky thermoplastic, first appeared in the production of toothbrush bristles in 1938. It has high tenacity fibers, making it popular for use in seat belt, tire cord, and ballistic cloth production.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene is highly durable, justifying its appearance in a number of manufacturing processes. It too is highly durable and lightweight, which is why it’s often used for seat belts, fasteners, and belts.

Uses for Webbing

Sports

Webbing is frequently used for rock climbing in slings, runners, harnesses, anchor extensions, and quickdraws as well as in hiking and camping gear.

Automotive

Seat belts are the most obvious examples in automotive settings, but webbing appears in several other places. Racing harnesses are made from nylon and polyester as are window nets, HANS device tethers, and Hutchens devices in race cars.

Furniture

You’ve probably seen it used in couches and chairs to provide strong, flexible backs, especially for outdoor furniture. It is also commonly employed to reinforce joins and flexible areas.

Military

Another common use is for military belts, packs, and pouches. The British Army began using it after the Second Boer War because of its ability to carry vital supplies without adding much extra weight.

Transportation

Tie downs, tie straps, cargo straps, E-track straps, cargo hoist straps, tow ropes, winch straps, cargo nets, and many other items are used frequently by shipping and trucking companies.

Apparel

Belts, suspenders, sandals, and purses often employ webbing. Medical braces also frequently use the material.

Pet Collars and Leashes

This is perhaps the most immediately recognizable use. Nylon and polyester are most commonly used, though polypropylene appears occasionally.

The material’s popularity can largely be attributed to its versatility and durability. Its frequent use speaks to its usefulness.

Your Guide to a Sunglasses Tragedy

How polarized lenses filter uv rays

Sunglasses have a much richer history than you probably know of. First used in 12th century China, sunglasses were made from flat planes of smoky quartz which protected the eyes from the harmful effects of glare and malevolent spirits. Years later, the first commercial pair was produced in 1929 and sold by Sam Foster at Woolworth’s on Atlantic City Boardwalk. Their popularity extended even to the military, where Ray-Ban’s anti-glare aviators were used by the Air Force. Today, sunglasses are just as popular as ever. Men’s styles sell every 90 seconds on eBay, and about half of the entire population of Australia is equipped with shades.

When you’re looking down at your favorite pair of sunglasses, freshly busted thanks to errant pocket placement, you probably aren’t reflecting on a sunglasses history lesson, though. Instead, you’re thinking about the cost of replacing your shades. Before you pony up for a new pair, though, stop and consider an alternative. Replacing sunglass lenses is much less expensive than buying a new pair, and much easier than you may realize.

Your Options for Replacement Sunglass Lenses

You have three basic options if you’re going to replace lenses in sunglasses.

  1. Buy expensive sunglass replacement lenses from the manufacturer and install them yourself.
  2. Buy less expensive aftermarket lenses and have a professional install them.
  3. Buy less expensive aftermarket lenses and install them yourself.

Any option is viable, but the last one is certainly the most cost effective.

How Do You Measure for Sunglasses Lenses?

Before you worry about the “How do you measure for sunglasses” question, here’s a handy tip. The inside of one of the arms of your sunglasses is printed with a series of numbers. These numbers will tell you not only the model number of your sunglasses, which you’ll need, but the size of your lenses. To confirm that the number was printed correctly, measure straight across your lens at its widest point.

How Do I Replace My Lenses?

This depends on what kind of frames you have. Metal frames are a little easier to work with, but neither process is particularly difficult.

  • Metal Frames: Loosen the screws on the undersides of the arms. These hold your frames tight around the lenses. Once they’re loosened, it should be easy for you to push up on the lens while pulling out on the frames. Snap in the new lens, checking to make sure that it’s well aligned, and then re-tighten the screws.
  • Plastic Frames: Soak the sunglasses in hot soapy water for 30 seconds. Dry them thoroughly before pulling on the frame and pushing up on the lens. It should pop out, but if it seems too difficult, try re-soaking the glasses. In a worst case scenario, you can break the old lens in order to remove it. Pop in the new lens, aligning it in one area and working around the lens until it’s in place.

If you have any more questions beyond “How do you measure for sunglasses lenses?” and “How do I replace my lenses?” the vendor you work with should be able to help.

Next time you’re staring down at a pair of broken sunglasses. Take a second to consider your options. You may have more than you realize. Great references here.

Hiding in Plain Sight the Story of Camouflage

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These days, camouflage, or camo, is quite common. We see it used in the military, in hunting, even in fashion. While camouflage seems to be everywhere these days, it actually took quite awhile for it to be widely adopted.

The word “camouflage” is derived from the French verb “camoufler,” which means to conceal. The origins of manmade camouflage certainly drew inspiration from the animal kingdom. There are many animals, like the flat-tail horned lizard, which can alter their skin to match their surroundings. During the Seven Years’ War, British troops began wearing green because it made it harder for the enemy to distinguish them at a distance. This practice continued over the years, though this form of camouflage is rudimentary by today’s standards.

Modern military camouflage began during World War I with French troops. During the war, the French Army employed artists to create camouflage patterns as we know of them today. Other armies followed suit, and, from that point on, camouflage has become an indelible part of military aesthetics. One innovation has been to use different colors and patterns depending environment. For example, in the forest, shades of green are used, whereas in the desert, shades of tan are preferred. Modern military camouflage is quite sophisticated and expensive as well. 70,000 camouflage uniforms for American troops in Afghanistan cost $106 billion.

Camouflage has been used outside of the military as well. Today, it is very popular amongst hunters, who use it to conceal themselves from animals. This practice began in the 1970’s after a hunter named Jim Crumley created his own hunting camouflage using a magic marker. Camouflage has even been used in fashion. Today, it is not uncommon to see pink camo clothing for woman. There are even pink camo formal prom dresses. It is unlikely that the British originators of camouflage would have anticipated that their idea would become so popular in militaries and eventually lead to pink camo clothing.