May 15th is nylon stockings day!
First introduced by the Du Pont Corporation in 1940, nylon stockings were an instantsuccess. Billed as "stronger than steel" and "run-proof," the publicwas fascinated by the new synthetic material. Du Pont brilliantlypromoted the new stockings from the start. On May 15, 1940, Du Pontdeclared "N-Day" - for the first time, all across America, nylonstockings would go on sale. Women lined up for blocks and Du Pont sold5 million pair in that single day.
During World War II Du Pont was forced to divert its nylon production towar-related materials, such as parachutes and aircraft tires. The nylonstocking shortage had begun. In America, the demand for nylon stockingswas so high that people began paying $20 on the black market (before thestart of the war they had cost a little over a dollar). In Chicago, police ruled out robbery as a motive in a murder case because the perpetrator had left behind six pair of nylon stockings at the crime scene!
In August of 1945, only eight days after Japan's surrender, Du Pontannounced that it would immediately return to producing nylon stockings. The next month stockings went on sale at a limited number of stores. Thousands of people showed up for the stockings, which quickly sold out,and so began the first of the so-called "Nylon Riots." Throughout 1945,stores were besieged by mobs of women who had learned of the sales byword of mouth. Du Pont, not fully recovered from its wartime conversion,could not keep up with the demand. People waiting in line weredisorderly and police had to disperse crowds. When stores sold out ofthe precious hosiery, fights broke out. In Pittsburgh, the mayorarranged for a stocking sale in response to a petition by four hundredwomen. On the day of the sale, 40,000 people lined up to fight for13,000 pairs. Similar scenes took place all across the country. Finally,by March of 1946, Du Pont was producing 30 million pairs a month, enoughfor everyone, and the "Nylon Riots" ended.