In 1942 it was unusual for civilians to parachute, and it was even more unusual for women civilians to parachute. So when airplane pilot Adeline Gray became the first to jump with a nylon parachute, people took notice. Before nylon, parachutes were made from silk, which came from Japan. After Japan's attack of Pearl Harbor, the United States stopped using silk. Nylon was a good alternative because the fibers are thinner than silk fibers. Gray not only made nylon parachutes famous; she became a sensation, too. After the jump, Gray went on to perform in airshows and appeared in advertisements.