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Old Rubber: 1942

Old Rubber: 1942

July 1942. "Detroit, Michigan (vicinity). Standard Oil truck used during a rubber scrap drive." 4x5 inch acetate negative by Arthur Siegel for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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1939 GMC COE
(Would be a rare find today)

Defense needs rubber

This was part of a nationwide rubber drive that began on June 15, 1942.

Rubber was one of the scarcest commodities at this time, after Japan conquered Malaya and the Dutch East Indies (the world's primary suppliers) earlier that year. Imports could still be brought in from South America--but that took supply ships needed elsewhere.

Rubber conservation was the primary purpose of gasoline rationing and the moratorium on new car sales to civilians. Only public health and safety vehicles, essential trucking, and public transportation could get required certificates for new tires; civilians, watched over by local tire rationing boards, could possess no more than five.

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade was canceled and the balloons and helium contributed to the war effort.

Earliest childhood memory

A few years ago, my dad told me of his earliest childhood memory, going someplace in the car, and then having to get out and stand by the side of the road for a long time. He said he told this story to his mother while she was still living.

She said, "Oh, I know what you're remembering." He told me where they had been driving and which relative they were going to see, but I don't remember that detail, only that they were at least a few hours' drive from home (which was the Texas Gulf Coast) when they got a flat tire.

You couldn't get a replacement tire during the war, unless you had a connection. My grandmother did have a connection. But he was a long way away, and they had to wait.

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