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Recent History

Photograph of Nelson Hall
Nelson Hall

The college continued to expand and a new building (Nelson Hall) was dedicated March 3, 1940. In 1943 Malcolm E. "Sandy" Campbell succeeded Nelson as dean of the textiles school, and expansion continued. The college joined in the defense effort during World War II by Under terms of a special agreement with the Textile Research Institute, Inc., and the War Production Board, a research project is now under way, the purpose of which is to investigate and recommend ways and means of increasing the production of cotton carding machines with a minimum of damage to the product.offering a course in fabric inspection and testing for those employed in war industries. In addition, faculty from the College of Textiles investigated substitutes for silk, which was critically needed for the manufacture of parachutes. The college was instrumental in North Carolina's production of fabric for the war, which surpassed all other states.

Professor Ed Shinn (left) with Dean Campbell at the necktie machine where the artificial aorta was developed.

After the war the area of textiles research continued to broaden, and NC State led the way. Research at the university led to Professor William "Ed" Shinn's 1955 development of the knitted OrlonTM aorta on a necktie machine. In 1959 the state of North Carolina gave funds to support textiles research for the first time. Campbell retired in 1967, and David Chaney was named the new dean. Research funding grew, and the college received several large federal grants during the 1970s. Dr. Solomon Hersh and a team of researchers at NC State studied brown lung disease (byssinosis), a disease suffered by cotton mill workers. Through their research they determined acceptable levels of exposure to cotton dust and contributed to the establishment of occupational health standards in textile mills.

Chaney retired in 1981, and Dame S. Hamby became the new dean of a textiles college that offered the largest textiles research program in the United States.

Professor Emeritus Mansour Mohamed

As the college planned the move to the university's new Centennial Campus, advances in textiles research continued. Hamby retired and Robert A. Barnhardt became dean in 1987. The next year groundbreaking for the new College of Textiles building on Centennial campus was 17 May 1988. In the 100 years of textiles at NC State, the college and the field of textiles has diversified. Professor Emeritus Mansour Mohamed worked to produce a method of three-dimensional weaving systems that produce lightweight, superstrong, high-performance textile composites that are used in cars, planes, and in the aerospace industry. This technology was developed for NASA's Mars Mission Research Center at NC State. In the 1990s Dr. Sam Hudson found new uses for fiber made from chitin and chitosan, materials extracted from the shells of crabs and other shellfish. He and others at NC State have developed methods to use chitin and chitosan to clean wastewater left by the dyeing process, to create fibers for paper-making, and to develop a biodegradable wound dressing that employs chitosan's healing properties.


The College of Textiles Complex at Centennial Campus



Tompkins, Ivey, and Nelson would all be astonished to see what textiles researchers, alumni, and students are doing in the dawn of the twenty-first century. Research on the Mars Mission, materials providing protection from hazardous chemicals, and collaboration with industry to produce innovative composite materials from tennis rackets to spacecraft are but a few of the exciting endeavors in which the college is involved.