Wear More Milk, 1937

This little article in The Children’s Newspaper from 1937 caught my eye. Wear more milk?

The Children's Newspaper, 3rd April, 1937

The Children’s Newspaper, 3rd April, 1937

In the 1930s, Italian chemist Antonio Ferretti worked out how to extract fibres from the casein protein in milk, which could then be used to make material. It was called Lanital (and Aralac in America). This was celebrated as a national success in fascist Italy, which was looking to promote self-sufficiency in fabrics and everything else, on account of sanctions being placed on the country by the League of Nations in response to Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935.

In the end, Lanital didn’t wash well, apparently smelling a bit like sour milk when damp, and bacteria could eat away at it, which is why it was soon replaced by the newer synthetic fibres.

Futurist poet Antonio Marinetti wrote “The Poem of the Milk Dress” about the invention of Lanital and how it was interwoven with the fascist system of Italy. In the extract below, “the man” is referring to Mussolini:

“The Man commands
Milk, divide yourself […]

And let this complicated milk be welcome power power power let’s exalt this
              MILK MADE OF REINFORCED STEEL
                     MILK OF WAR
                           MILITARIZED MILK”

And here’s how it was made(in Italian):

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1 Response

  1. July 28, 2017

    […] April 1937, British publication The Children’s Newspaper reported that “milk wool” had infiltrated Italian suits, dresses, garments, and even flags: “an order […]

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