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Playtex Products (International Latex Company)

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International Latex Company
1937, with additions. U.S. 13 and Division St.
  • Playtex Products (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

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.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Playtex Products (International Latex Company)", [Dover, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 250-250.

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