There was a little birthday party in Chicago at the International Housewares Show this week to celebrate Teflon’s 50th birthday. It was in 1961 that a Teflon coated product known as a “Happy Pan” debuted in America’s kitchens. Since that time the slippery substance has grown like Topsy.
Since 1961, literally millions and millions of Teflon coated pans have been sold. In the U.S. along last year, nonstick pans shipped to stores were in the neighborhood of 50 million pieces. Not all of them were Teflon–there are other firms who manufacture nonstick coatings–but Teflon has spread in the past 50 years around the planet. You see the label from Singapore to London to Los Angeles .
Nonstick cookware like Teflon has meant healthier cooking for the world. Less grease is used and immeasurable amounts of clean up time has been saved. The slippery substance keeps foods from sticking making even the clumsiest cook into an omelet expert.
And despite the nay-sayers who claim that nonstick coatings are poisonous, the truth is there have been many benefits from the use of Teflon. An early version helped win World War II when it was used in the development of the atom bomb. Thousands of lives have been improved with stents coated with Teflon materials–they are less likely to produce dangerous clots. Teflon keeps windshield wipers working in snow and ice. In industrial applications, Teflon seals keep all sorts of industrial processes running smoothly. It’s the active ingredient in stain resistant carpets and clothing.
So we raise a glass to toast Teflon and wish it, and its manufacturer, DuPont, a happy half-century birthday.