Wings of War: An Account of the Important Contribution of the United States to Aircraft Invention, Engineering, Development and Production during the World War

By Theodore Macfarlane Knappen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION OF DOPE AND COTTON FABRIC

ONE of the numerous difficulties that faced the aircraft managers in the development on an extensive scale of a great technical and complicated industry from the ground up was that of the fabric which covers the wings. Previous to the entry of the United States into the war the fabric used for this purpose had been made almost entirely from linen. Linen is made from a peculiar variety of flax grown under certain favorable conditions in Belgium, Russia, and Ireland. The Belgian supply was of course cut off when Germany invaded Belgium in 1914 and the Russian supply which had always been precarious was also cut off after the Russian revolution. Ireland then remained as the only source from which flax could be obtained for airplane linen for the Allies. A further complication arose from the fact that Great Britain used large quantities of flax in the

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