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Sprague, Calvin. Calvin Sprague was created by Francis Lynde and appeared in twelve stories in The Popular Magazine from 1912 to 1919, beginning with “The Wire-Devil” (The Popular Magazine, July 1, 1912); six of the stories were collected in Scientific Sprague (1912).

Calvin “Scientific” Sprague is the chief of "a certain nameless intelligence department" for the United States, although Sprague gets out into the field as often, if not more often, than the agents under him. Sprague is an enormous man, bigger and taller than most football players, with a "round, amiable" face. Despite his friendly nature and the ever-present cigar in his mouth, he is a manipulator and plotter without peer, continually arranging events and people so that the U.S.A. comes out ahead.

Sprague doesn't just do this from behind the scenes, either. He gets directly involved. When the U.S. is in need of "ferromanganese" for the war effort, Sprague is among those who makes sure the government gets an entire mountain of the stuff, despite the opposition of local railroad executives. When vagabonds and hobos, led by a "Bolshevik mastermind," are plotting a nation-wide strike and reign of terror, and have begun to sabotage railways and telephone and telegraph lines, Sprague leads a group of Army soldiers to smash the hobos, using a gas he's invented against them. Sprague is, of course, good in a fight, plus capable of inventing lethal weapons.

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