Dmitry M. Gagarine

Olney Medalist 1978
Milliken Research Corp., Spartanburg, SC


Dmitry Michael Gagarine, a pioneer in the development of wash and wear treatments for cotton fabrics in the 1940s­1970s, was awarded the AATCC Olney Medal for 1978. The Olney Medal is the highest award for achievement in textile chemistry. Established in 1944 to honor the memory of Dr. Louis Atwell Olney, the founder and first president of AATCC, the award is presented annually in recognition of technical and scientific contributions to the advancement of textile chemistry. 1

Dmitry M. Gagarine, Olney Medal 1978

At the time of this recognition, Gagarine was vice­president and research director for Milliken Research Corporation of Spartanburg, SC. Gagarine began his distinguished career as a textile scientist with Dan River Mills, Danville, VA in 1942. In the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, he served as chief chemist for the highly respected group of textile chemists working on new approaches to wash and wear treatments for cotton fabrics. 1,3

In 1953, he joined Deering Milliken Research Corporation where he continued research in the field of cotton fabric finishes. He developed the Belfast process, a major invention in the cross­linking technology of cellulosic fabrics. This process basically eliminated the need to drip­dry or tumble­dry wash and wear fabrics, was used under license by textile finishers around the world who produced hundreds of millions of yards of Belfast fabric. 1

Recognized throughout the world for his ability to perform, develop new researchers, co­ordinate creative research and then bring these inventions to the marketplace, Gagarine was promoted from department manager to vice­president and research director in 1960 and given the responsibility of maximizing the creative output of the Milliken research laboratories. 1

Under his direction, Milliken researchers developed shrink­proofing treatments for wool and worsted fabrics; permanent luster treatments for wool; fugitive tints to prevent fiber contamination in the processing of different varieties of synthetic fibers; and electron beam irradiation processes to provide unique durable press features to polyester/cotton blends. 1

Gagarine and his team led the way in the development of soil release finishes, first for polyester/cotton blends and then for fabrics of 100% polyester. So new was the concept that Milliken researchers coined the term “soil release” to introduce the process. Soil release finishes then became common throughout the industry. 1, 3­-8

In his Olney medal address, Gagarine gave credit to those he worked with: “Most of my professional life I have been fortunate in being able to surround myself with technical people who are smarter than I and whose skills are far greater than mine in many areas. In awarding me this cherished medal you really honor the men and women who have worked with me and who have made the accomplishments possible in the laboratory, in production and in marketing. Without their creative contributions and their hard work, none of it would have been possible.” 2



  1. “Dmitry M. Gagarine To Receive Olney Medal,” Textile Chemist and Colorist, Vol. 10, No. 19, Sep 1978, p55.
  2. Dmitry M. Gagarine, “Olney Medal Address: Hydrophilic Soil Release,” Textile Chemist and Colorist, Vol. 10, No. 12, Dec 1978 p13­15.
  3. USP 2486 399 Filed Nov. 1, 1949Stabilizing Cellulose Textiles, Ketone­Aldehyde­Starch Condensates Uses.
  4. USP 2 985 501 (1961) filed Apr 3, 1956, Process of producing flat drying wet crease resistant cellulosic fabrics by reaction with cross­linking agents and products produced thereby.
  5. USP 3 175 874 (1965) Filed Jan 29, 1959 Method of crease proofing cellulosic fabrics by wet crease proofing followed by dry crease proofing and the resulting product.
  6. USP 3 175 875 (1965) Filed Apr 25, 1960 Cellulosic fabrics and methods for making the same.
  7. F. W. Marco, USP 3 377 249 (1968) Filed Aug4, 1966 Soil release of polyester­containing textiles through treatment with aminoplast resins in conjunction acrylic emulsion polymers containing at least 20% acid calculated as acrylic acid.
  8. F. W. Marco, USP 3 540 835 (1970) Filed Aug 11, 1967. Carboxylic acid group containing copolymer is applied to textile which has been treated with an aminoplast resin to improve soil release characteristics thereof.
  9. F. W. Marco, USP 3 535 141 (1970) Filed Apr 17, 1967 Process for making soil release synthetic textiles.