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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Proprietor sees pro-German sympathies in sabotaged yarn

 (Spokesman-Review archive)
(Spokesman-Review archive)

Ground glass was discovered in a consignment of yarn in Spokane – and pro-German sabotage was suspected.

“The ground glass and (some) other substance had been mixed into the yarn by some pro-German in the hopes of discouraging women from knitting for the soldiers,” theorized R.D. Flynne, co-owner of Mower & Flynne, the Spokane store which had received the yarn from a national firm.

Flynne said they discovered the problem right away after some of the store clerks reported finger pain just by handling the yarn. The store immediately removed it from sale and notified the manufacturer. Flynne believed that a second, unidentified substance, was also mixed in, “which burns the fingers and face.” Yet the ground glass was bad enough.

“Yarn which has ground glass in it makes the fingers sore,” said Flynne. “The damage which could be done if any such garments were completed and sent to our soldiers and sailors cannot be estimated. Think of a helmet, which might get the glass in the eyes of a soldier, or a pair of socks or wristlets for that matter. The ground glass would work through the garment and into the flesh.”

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