W.L. Gore & Associates: ePTFE
W.L. Gore & Associates was founded by Bill and Vieve Gore in 1958 in the basement of their home. The firm first served the electronics product market. Bob Gore, the son of Bill and Vieve discovered a versatile new polymer in 1969 which opened the way for the company into a host of new applications in medical, fabric and industrial markets.
This new polymer was expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). Almost all of the company’s products are based on just this one material and the firm is steadfast in remaining a leader in fluoropolymers.
W.L. Gore’s most popular product is the breathable, waterproof, and windproof Gore-Tex brand fabric. Textile utilization includes clothing and shoes to Elixir guitar strings, space suits, and medical sutures. W.L. Gore also produces insulated wire and cables, filtration products, and sealants.
W.L. Gore is heavy on research and innovation with 2,000 patents worldwide in various fields such as polymer processing, medical devices and electronics. Over 35 million Gore Medical Devices have been implanted, saving and improving the quality of lives of people all over the world.
Now the company has over 10,000 employees worldwide and generates $3 billion in annual sales. It is still a privately held company owned by the Gore family and associates.