The inventor of revolutionary waterproof fabric Gore-Tex died on 17 September 2020, aged 83. Introduced in 1976, the game-changing fabric has protected countless shooters, deerstalkers, hunters and fishermen from wet weather.
Born in Utah, the chemical engineer’s lab experiments with a polymer unwittingly led to the creation of the billion-dollar membrane.
The sad news prompted outdoor clothing brands to reflect on how Gore-Tex has changed the country clothing market. Simon Esnouf from Outfit International, the UK distributor for Härkila and Seeland, commented: “Back in the day when a shooting coat was made of waxed cotton and you just put up with the questionable waterproofing, the cold, the stiffness and the weight, not to mention the smell of wet dog. Then Gore-Tex came along and revolutionised the way we thought of the shooting jacket. The coats were lighter, better, waterproof and breathable and not just jackets either, Gore-Tex finds its way into trousers, hats, gloves and boots and many other garments besides. Gore-Tex is an amazing invention that has made our lives more comfortable, we all have many reasons to thank Bob Gore.”
Marcus Janssen from Schöffel Country added: “As the first European brand to receive a Gore-Tex license, the Schöffel family have enjoyed a long, fruitful and happy relationship with the revolutionary fabric manufacturer. Access to Bob Gore’s ground-breaking technology allowed Hubert and Peter Schöffel to produce garments that outperformed their competitors’ products in a way that was, up to that point, unimaginable. One hundred per cent waterproof, windproof and, significantly, highly breathable, it was this genuinely innovative technology that – coupled with the Schöffel family’s 200+ years of expertise in product design and their uncompromising manufacturing standards – revolutionised the country clothing market almost 30 years ago, with the launch of the very first Ptarmigan shooting coat. Although other manufacturers have since introduced products that offer similar levels of performance, Gore-Tex was the original hi-tech outerwear fabric manufacturer. And their products still offer exceptional performance, which is why we still use them in a number of our shooting coats and fly fishing jackets.”