WWII War Rationing Booklet:
Back of booklet: “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.
This book is your Government’s assurance of your right to buy your fair share of certain goods made scarce by war. Price ceilings have also been established for your protection. Dealers must post these prices conspicuously.
Don’t pay more.
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.”
Items were rationed because of shortages in the rubber and metal industries. Because trucks using rubber tires delivered processed goods, anything processed was rationed. As of February 1942, all metal work was converted to producing tanks, aircraft, weapons, and other military products, with the United States government as the only customer and so there was no longer available: metal office furniture, typewriters, radios, phonographs, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and sewing machines.
Civilians first received ration books – War Ration Book Number One, 4 May 1942, through more than 100,000 school teachers, PTA groups, and other volunteers. A national speed limit of 35 miles per hour was imposed to save fuel and rubber for tires. Each person in a household received a ration book, including babies and small children who qualified for canned milk not available to others. To receive a gasoline ration, a person had to prove they owned no more than 5 tires, the extras would be confiscated.
April 1, 1942, anyone wishing to purchase a new toothpaste tube, then made from metal, had to turn in an empty one. On May 5, the US was rationed to 1/2 pound of sugar per person per week. Coffee was rationed nationally on 29 November 1942 to 1 pound every five weeks. By the end of 1942, rationing was in place for typewriters, gasoline, bicycles, footwear, silk, nylon, fuel oil, stoves, meat, lard, shortening and oils, cheese, butter, margarine, processed foods (canned, bottled, and frozen), dried fruits, canned milk, firewood, and coal, jams, jellies, and fruit butter.
Information from www.ameshistory.org
Life Magazine, 1941-1942
Rationing Book of Richard Alexander, courtesy of Margaret Alexander
Written by J.Rose