Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Science and Innovations

Robert Gore, Inventor Of GORE-TEX Fabrics, Dies At 83

Wiki Commons/Science History Institute

The inventor of GORE-TEX material has died. Robert Gore, a chemical engineer who invented a waterproof, breathable fabric now famous for outdoor gear and patches for heart repair, died last Thursday at the age of eighty-three. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports. 

Gore was the former president of the Flagstaff-based company W.L. Gore & Associates, and served on its board of directors for nearly six decades. His parents founded the company in 1958. In the early years Gore worked on wires and cables designed for the Apollo moon missions. In 1969 he was experimenting with a new form of plastic when he discovered it could be stretched into a light, airy material that repelled water. This discovery led to GORE-TEX Fabrics, the world’s first breathable, waterproof outerwear. The material is now widely used in everything from rain jackets to space suits to medical devices.

Because of Gore’s contributions to science and technology, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineers and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He is survived by his wife, children, and four siblings. Memorial plans have yet to be announced.


Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
Related Content