Overview of the development of synthetic fibers from the "first patent for 'artificial silk' [that] was granted in ... 1855," to the 1992 introduction of lyocell.?? Highlights include the development of rayon, nylon, and polyester. Also includes a brief discussion of safety (flammability) and energy issues. (By 1973, "the industry was using but 1% of the Nation's petroleum supply to provide two-thirds of all fibers used by American textile mills.") Includes a timeline. From the American Fiber Manufacturers Association.