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Men Smoking Together: 1942

Men Smoking Together: 1942

October 1942. "War production drive. Anthracite rallies. Servicemen working together! Soldiers, sailors and marines went into Pennsylvania mines during the anthracite rallies, September 30th through October 1st, and saw how hard coal is extracted from beneath the earth's surface." 4x5 nitrate negative by William Perlitch for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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The miner's belt was used to hold the battery for the miner’s cap lamp, and sometimes as a safety harness to prevent falls. Today it is also used to carry a gas detector, a portable respirator (self-rescuer), and possibly a tool pouch—but no longer serves as a stand-alone safety harness as most jurisdictions require a full body harness for that purpose. Available with or without suspenders or lumbar support, both the web and the leather styles are still used. The Amish make one of the most popular leather belts.

Rounding out the rest of the modern safety equipment are steel toed boots, ear plugs, safety glasses, gloves, and of course the hard hat with cap lamp. The clothes are made of heavy cotton worn under flame-resistant overalls that have reflective strips on them.

Pit belts

Thanks for the uniform info, Tobacconist. I was also confused about the Marines' belts.

Are the "miner's pit belts" associated the electric head lamps on the hardhats? I notice that the two guys at right have both lights and pit belts, while our Marine at left is wearing his leather belt and a hardhat -- but no lamp.

Trivia, I know. But fascinating to us history-types.

It's The Pits

According to the regulations of that period, the Marine on the left who is sporting the Expert Rifleman badge (both Marines have a Marksmanship Badge on the left with an unreadable qualification bar above it), is wearing the Winter Service, A uniform with the correct shell cordovan [shoe leather] dress belt, having placed the "buckle at the center of the waist in front, plate or buckle covering bottom button of coat." The cloth belt replaced it in 1943. However, he falls down on Special Regulation 62.e. which states "Socks should conform as nearly as possible to the color of the shoes with which worn."

The Marine on the right with the rifle Sharpshooter badge is wearing a fabric miner's pit belt (which bears a strong resemblance to a military M1917 Garrison Belt), while the sailor wears a leather pit belt.

Well Belted

As a former Marine, I can't help but notice the contrasting belts on the two Marines and wonder what they signify. They are both in service A uniforms, but lack the green cloth belts around the waist that I remember. These days the black leather belt is worn only by senior drill instructors in recruit training. The white belt is a mystery, perhaps some sort of cartridge belt that canteens etc. might have been clipped on. Green versions of such belts were worn by duty officers/nco's. Hopefully some historian of military regalia can clear this up.

Regarding the hosiery, you will never see drooping socks on a Marine these days. They wear elastic suspenders connecting socks to shirt which are known as shirt stays and serve the twofold purpose of keeping socks up and shirt taut. Uniform regulations were slack back then, and hair was much longer.

Not Red Sox, but Bad Sox

Something we take for granted: male hosiery that stays in place around the ankle. Back in the day, not so true from the evidence of this pic.

Fill flash

I wonder what kind of fill flash Bill was using. It was a powerful one, based on the second set of shadows that rival those of the sun. BTW, kinda looks like Cagney in the center of the poster.


This must be before they went into the mine.

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