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Playtex Products (International Latex Company)
Russian immigrant Abram N. Spanel moved his latex company here from Rochester, New York, building a 100,000-square-foot factory of brick in a cow pasture near the U.S. 13 bypass, the beginning of big industry in Dover. In the Moderne style facility, he manufactured baby pants and ladies' girdles. Foreseeing war in the Pacific, Spanel bought a reserve of Southeast Asian latex just before Pearl Harbor, stashing it on-site in underground vaults (extant until the early 1990s) lined with chemically treated beeswax. During the war, the entire U.S. supply of latex was here, used by Spanel's workmen to make inflatable assault boats, floatable stretchers for the injured, and other materiel.
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