Friday, August 6, 2010


My mother was a perpetual saver. Fibber McGee's closet was in the guest room. It came in handy sometimes, because if you ever needed something, no matter what it was, she probably had it. The file cabinet was filled with papers dating back to the 1940's. It was certainly interesting when I started sorting through things after her death. One thing I found recently was a small brown leather-type pouch which belonged to my grandparents. Inside the pouch was a historical reminder of war time 1943.

There were 4 small paper booklets called War Ration Book No. 3 and No. 4, one for each of my grandparents. They were marked "United States of America - Office of Price Administration." Inside the booklets were numbered stamps which were spent for goods back then.

On the back of each booklet it stated: "Rationing is a vital part of your country's war effort. Any attempt to violate the rules is an effort to deny someone his share and will create hardship and help the enemy." These ration books gave the named bearer the right to buy their fair share of certain goods made scarce by war. There were price ceilings established for items and dealers (stores) had to post the prices for all to see.

At the bottom it read: "Give your whole support to rationing and thereby conserve our vital goods. Be guided by the rule: If you don't need it, DON'T BUY IT." Government Printing Office 1943.

When booklet No. 3 was issued, on the face it had the person's name, address, age, sex, height, weight, and occupation. Booklet No. 4 just had name, address, and both versions had a signature line.

On the back of the later No. 4 version, it stated: "Never buy rationed goods without ration stamps, and never pay more than the legal price."

At the bottom, there was a reminder to consumers: "When you have used your ration, salvage the TIN CANS and WASTE FATS. They are needed to make munitions for our fighting men. Cooperate with your local Salvage Committee."

The War Price and Rationing Board also issued Mileage Rationing Records, and I found out that in September 1944 my grandfather owned a 1936 Plymouth. Gasoline was rationed and there were ration stamps issued with a mileage record sheet.

In 1945, the War Price and Rationing Board also kept records of tires for automobiles with Tire Certificates. My grandfather had two 600 x16 tires and serial numbers had to be listed on the certificate to be purchased. In 1945, there was a Pure Oil Company at 124 E. Market Street, as shown on his certificate.

On the bottom of the front side it states: "You have been entrusted with a share of America's precious rubber supply . . . guard it carefully." On the back, the used tire serial numbers were listed. Printed at the bottom were the rules for use: (Sample) 1. Keep speed down to 35 mph. 2. Check the pressure often. 3. Keep brakes properly adjusted. 4. Rotate tires regularly. 5. Avoid curb scuffing. And finally, 6. Recap every tire when smooth.

I feel like I found a piece of history and heritage in one. How times have changed!

1 comment:

Sue's News said...

I have my ration book! I'll show it to you sometime!