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Plastic n Plywood: 1942

Plastic n Plywood: 1942

January 1942. Bantam, Connecticut. "Defense homes. Fred Heath works on the night shift at the Warren McArthur plant in Bantam, and spends his days with Mrs. Heath and their three-year-old daughter, Ann. Here they are in the living room of the Heaths' new four-room apartment, part of the new eighty-unit defense housing project just five minutes walk from the plant. The Heaths, who pay thirty dollars rent, like overstuffed chairs, and Ann also likes her overstuffed Teddy Bear." 4x5 nitrate negative by Howard Hollem. View full size.


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Where The Heaths Live

Here's a shot of a wintertime, ice and snow covered street in the business district of the town where the Heaths have taken up residence while Mr. Heath works for Warren McArthur.

Like a child

Her Daddy is her biggest can see it in her smile.

Radiators and ply wood walls

How strange that there are still homes who use those radiators today. I have heard that they are in homes all over NYC. I don't remember ever seeing a home with ply wood walls.

Mary Giarnese

b. 12/27/1922
d. 08/23/2000


I am guessing that it is the mother's high school diploma from Torrington HS in Connecticut that is on the wall. Her first name appears to be Mary but I cannot make out the last name or year. The last name does not appear to be Heath. If we could enlarge that section we might have her maiden name and a good guess on her age for the genealogy folks to use.

Some time back I was able to download the large tiff files from the LOC and view them, but I don't remember how I did it. Can someone help me out.

[The link to the tiff is on this page. - tterrace]

Nice to know

I am wondering if little Ann would remember this? She would be 72 now, so maybe she is still alive. Would one of our many genealogy researchers like to find out?

Idle chatter

In the context of the photo I know why the overstuffed chair thing is relevant, but when I read the caption it seemed like such an odd thing to say about a family. You can almost imagine one of the neighbors: "Oh, the Heaths? Nice folks. They sure like their overstuffed chairs, those kids do."

Cute little Ann

doesn't care that the walls are plywood!

Re: Rent

I have no idea what this dad's salary was, but last week while touring the Glenn L. Martin Aviation Museum here in Baltimore, I noticed in a display case a 1944 "New Employee" info card, for unskilled labor. His starting hourly wage was 60 cents an hour = about $5.50 today.

Cushy job?

Of course they liked the overstuffed chairs. The Warren McArthur plant in Bantam made upholstered seating for bombers and other planes. Its name changed many times following the war, from Warren McArthur to Aerotherm Corp., to Aerotec Industries, UOP Aerospace Division, PTC Aerospace, and finally, in 1992, B/E Aerospace. It closed its Bantam operations in 2002, and shifted its CT operations to facilities in Ireland and North Carolina.


This instantly reminded me of one of those "typical" rooms the military had set up in the blast range during the atomic bomb tests in the 50's.


Using the inflation calculator the equivalent rent today would be $435/mo. I wonder what the dad's salary equivalent today is.

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