Robert "Bob" Gore the inventor of the breathable yet waterproof fabric known as GORE-TEX has passed away at the age of 83. With his invention, Gore revolutionalized outdoor wear and helped inspire the use of GORE-TEX in the streetwear and sneaker industries, leaving a lasting impact on the world.
Gore, who was the president and company chairman of W. L. Gore & Associates for over 25 years died on Thursday at his family home in Maryland following a prolonged illness, company spokesperson Amy Calhoun confirmed Saturday.
Gore's breakthrough came in 1969 when he found a new way to manufacture a polymer material. When he was researching ways to manufacture plumber’s tape, he found that the material could be stretched to 800 percent and became lightweight and breathable, constructed 70 percent out of air. He discovered that this microporous material had pores much smaller than water droplets, and so was also regarded as a great, breathable solution for waterproofing.
With some additional tweaking for structure and strength, Gore had created an innovative new material and trademarked it "GORE-TEX." The fabric revolutionized waterproof outerwear and was quickly embraced in raincoats, shoes, and other clothing as well as in medical, aeronautical, and space travel industries.
“It was truly a pivot point in this company’s history,” Greg Hannon, W.L. Gore & Associates’ chief technology officer, said last year. “Without which we would be much less significant of an organization than we are today.”
While he has lost the battle against a long-time illness, Bob Gore, the innovator, leader, and philanthropist will live on through the lasting legacy of his beloved creation. Rest in peace, Bob Gore.