Gannex is a waterproof fabric composed of an outer layer of nylon and an inner layer of wool with air between them and was invented in 1951 by Joseph Kagan, a British industrialist and the founder of Kagan Textiles, of Elland, which made raincoats. Gannex raincoats were most famously worn by Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
After Wilson, then the opposition trade spokesman, wore a Gannex coat on a world tour in 1956, the raincoats became fashion icons, and were worn by world leaders such as Lyndon Johnson, Mao Zedong, and Nikita Khrushchev, as well as by Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the royal corgis. In addition they were worn by Arctic and Antarctic explorers, Himalayan climbers, the armed services, and police forces in Britain and Canada. The success of the new fabric made Kagan a multi-millionaire.
The former mill occupied by the company was demolished in 2010.
- John A. Hargreaves, "Kagan, Joseph, Baron Kagan (1915–1995)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 17 Dec 2006
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