|Women standing in line for nylon stockings outside Miller's Department Store in Oak Ridge, TN in January 1946. Image: Wikipedia|
Dupont Chemical invented nylon in 1939 as an alternative to silk, Japan had embargoed all silk exports to the United States. So nylon became a not only a replacement, but an affordable one.
Silk and nylon stockings which could no longer be worn were being collected in stores throughout the country for conversation into powder bags which propel the projectile in big naval and coast defense guns. Image: U.S. National Archives
|Woe to the ladies who wore this stuff with white dresses and skirts in public......|
They announced it too soon. They promised a full production of pairs in the first shipment. The nation had millions of women who wanted to feel nylon on their legs again. Now.
But Dupont could only deliver a small fraction of that due to the actual speed of ramping up production (it couldn't be done overnight.) And that’s when all hell broke loose.
Store managers begged female customers to be patient. Department store windows were smashed in Washington D.C. In Pittsburgh, 40,000 women fought over 13,000 pairs of nylon stockings.