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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Navy recruiting station at Interstate Fair displays 17-foot-long torpedo

A U.S. Navy recruiting station opened on the grounds of the Interstate Fair, and it would soon include a special exhibit: a real torpedo.

It would be the first Whitehead torpedo ever exhibited in Spokane.

This “terrible war instrument” was expected to draw crowds to the recruiting station.

The torpedo was described as containing four parts: the head, containing 200 pounds of explosive; the “war nose,” as the firing device is called; the air flask and immersion chamber; and the afterbody, containing a 35-horsepower compressed air engine.

The whole thing was 17 feet long, weighed 1,452 pounds, and had a range of 4,600 yards.

From the soldier beat: A Colfax mother wrote a letter to the editor chiding a Chicago woman who said she was “disgusted” to see mothers weeping when their sons went off to war. The Chicago woman implied that such mothers were being unpatriotic.

The Colfax mother, Mrs. W.L. Ripley, was much more forgiving. She made the excellent point that “this thing is hitting them (mothers of soldiers) very hard; they need a little time to compose their smiles.” No one should be “disgusted” by a mother who “sheds some natural tears.”

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