This week whislt looking for something else I found some old World War II Ration Books. I thought they were interesting and wondered what they were for. I did a little research that made me thankful for food in the pantry and in the freezer.
When times are tough, Americans have proved that they can do without.
Book Number One was known as the “sugar book.” Sugar was the first thing to be rationed in May of 1942. You were allowed 12 ounces per week per person. ( 1 1/2 cups) Most cookie recipes call for more sugar than that.
In the sugar book were also coupons for coffee and one for one pair of shoes.
In this book that Far Guy’s Dad saved were three coupons left all for coffee. Stamps 19-28 were for one pound of coffee a week, Number 17 was for one pair of shoes good from June 16 –Oct 31 1943. The rest were sugar coupons.
There was a local tire board, if you needed a tire you had to go ask to purchase one. Gasoline was rationed, you were allowed 3 or 4 gallons a week. Car sales were stopped, then typewriters and bicycles…factories went into War Production. The war effort needed typewriters because that was their way of communication.
In 1942 and 1943 things would get worse, many more items were rationed, coal and heating fuel, nylons, cooking oils, meat and all canned or bottled foods. Babies were allowed milk products but they had to have a ration booklet.
You had to apply for a ration booklet and it would be mailed to you. The newspapers published times and date of which coupons were good and when. You had to keep all the coupons in the booklet until paying for items…no lose coupons were allowed. The Office of Price Administration had many rules.
These stamps are from Ration Book Three. These booklets were issued in September of 1943. There were eight pages of stamps, four for meat and four for clothing. The clothing stamps never went into effect but they could be used for shoes. These were point stamps and they were decorated with Guns, Tanks, Aircraft Carriers and Planes.
You were encouraged to have a Victory Garden, do home canning and not to waste even one ounce of food. There could be no lasting peace in a hungry world.
“If you don’t need it don’t buy it.”
You could take your waste kitchen fats and grease to a butcher shop and they would pay you 4 cents a pound. It was recycled into explosives! If you wanted toothpaste you had to turn in your old metal tube. The National speed limit during the war years was 35 mph, it saved on gas and tires. Every piece of scrap metal and scrap rubber was recycled.
Rationing came about because asking people to use less didn’t work. Hoarding and price gouging were avoided and every person got their fair share.
The fair share was not much 48 points a month would get you two cans of pineapple or four cans of spinach.
Women that were home canners could apply for extra sugar.
I know that farmers fared better than most people, they could have larger gardens, and raise their own meat..and with some luck a goat or a milk cow and of course chickens for eggs.
Rationing ended in 1946.