Double TWO Shirts
Double TWO Nostalgia: A World First in Shirtmaking

Double TWO Nostalgia: A World First in Shirtmaking

In a special nostalgic look back at our history, we first need to travel back to the early 1940’s.

The war had bought many scientific inventions as weapons technology developed, but it was the discovery of a new fibre that drew the attention of our Chairman, Mr Isaac Donner.

In 1941, in the midst of war, a scientist named Dr. Rex Whinfield derived a new fibre from oil. Despite this unlikely origin, the fibre looked and felt like silk and had many more qualities than any natural fibre could hope for.

The British government were so impressed with the discovery that the shackles of the Secrets Act were clamped on it until the end of the war!

Once the war was over, Dr Rex Whinfield along with Imperial Chemical Industries (I.C.I) patiently developed this man-made fibre for years, ironing out the snags and increasing its wonderful properties. They named it Terylene.

Then in 1951, just three days before the British Industries Fair, Isaac Donner, our founder and Chairman at the time, contacted I.C.I. He’d heard of the magic new fibre and sensed it could be used to make shirts!

In record time I.C.I and the team at Double TWO worked the fibre into a fabric and on the first morning of the British Industries Fair worked frantically to produce two shirts from this new material!

On that very afternoon, just hours off the production line, a new shirt was proudly on display at the Fair. The second shirt was being worn by the man himself, Dr Rex Whinfield.

Combining the luxurious properties of this new ‘Terylene’ fibre with Double TWO’s shirt making expertise was a masterstroke. The resulting shirt was a luxurious shirt that stayed crisp and correct. It washed easily, dried rapidly and never needed ironing! And to top it all, the shirt had broken new ground in longevity, outlasting 3 natural fibre shirts without showing signs of wear and tear.

To illustrate the point, Dr Whinfield went on to wear his shirt on two journeys around the world. It was washed every night. It was never ironed. And it always looked immaculate!

From fast paced beginnings many thousands of Double TWO ‘Terylene’ Shirts were produced and sold. Our famous easy-attach spare collar innovation was still going strong and was promptly added to the design of these world first, man-made fibre shirts.

A few TV advertisements were made promoting this new 'Terylene' Shirt! See a couple of them below >

Such was the demand that initial supplies had to be restricted to the British market!

Over the years we worked to develop this fibre, and weaving it into our cotton shirts, produced the world’s first blends of man-made and natural fibres!

This man-made fibre is still being produced and used in shirts around the world today.

‘Terylene’ simply became ‘Polyester’.

Pictured below is our current Chairman, son of Isaac Donner, Ricky, with that very shirt that was first displayed at the 1951 British Industries Fair!

A few years ago we were approached by BBC’s The One Show for a feature on this fascinating invention. You can see the feature here >

by Richard Hopwood
Double TWO


A great story Mr Isaac Donner a real go getter I enjoyed my time at Double Two.

Brian Pitchford 2 years ago at 21:09