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Google honors waterproof fabric inventor Charles Macintosh

A Google Doodle celebrates what would have been the 250th birthday of the man for whom the Mackintosh raincoat was named.

Thursday would have been the 250th birthday of Charles Macintosh, inventor of waterproof fabric.


Imagine living in rain-prone Scotland in the early 1820s. Your clothes would get soaked anytime it rained -- which was basically all the time. That was until Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh developed a way to waterproof fabrics in 1823. To celebrate his birthday Thursday, Google released a doodle of the inventor getting drenched in the rain.

Macintosh conducted experiments with byproducts of coal and tar, including naphtha, which turned rubber into a paste. Macintosh was able to apply this soluble rubber to fabric resulting in garments that would repel water.

One such garment was a raincoat called the Mackintosh named after the Scotsman. In the doodle, Macintosh is shown wearing one of the coats as rain water rolls right off him. Just think, it only took a couple hundred years for waterproofing to go from fabric to our phones!