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WWII brought dramatic changes to fashion on the homefront almost instantly. This Lord & Taylor ad, used to announce the new summer color, also highlights the Snood, an item that became indespensible as the war went on. As women took their places on the assemby lines, wielding power tools, safety required their long hair was tamed. The snood was the stylish answer to this requirement.

Read the story of a real Rosie the Riveter!

"In 1942, my husband, who was in the Marines, was stationed in Bremerton Washington, and we lived in Seattle. You could walk into any department store and sign up to work at Boeing Aircraft Company or the shipyards for employment. I applied at Boeing, and about two days later I received a call stating I should report to work the next day.

I would take three different busses to travel to Boeing Aircraft building number #2, which was camouflaged with grass and trees on the roof. They had Barrage balloons over the building, because if an enemy airplane would attack the plant the Barrage balloons would be in the way.

When we walked through the doors we immediately punched a time clock. A number of posters were up on the wall all over the plant "Keep 'em Flying" and the "Enemy May Be Listening." We were forbidden to take pictures inside the plant.

I belonged to the union, and worked as a riveter on the B-17 wings. A beginning riveter would start as a rivet bucker, and climb into a wing on the frame, and then they would hold up a small metal bar against the wing for the riveter. The riveter would rivet the wing from the outside against the small metal bar. I had to climb up on a third story platform on a scaffold to rivet the wings from the outside with a very noisy rivet gun. A light was shining on the aluminum wings, and the reflection made it so bright it was difficult on your eyes. At the end of the day, we all felt really stiff from climbing around the airplane. A man from Oklahoma was the foreman for six of us women in my department.

All the women had to wear scarves around their head so their hair would not get caught in the machinery. We would each wear a button which signified the department we were from.

Each day we ate our lunches in an air raid tunnel. The plant was open 24 hours a day, and we could work as many as hours as we liked. The employees who worked at Boeing were from all over the United States, and I made many nice friends which I am still in contact with today. Every one was patriotic, and wanted to produce as many airplanes as possible; most of the employees worked over time.

The pay was very good for a woman, I earned 82 cents an hour. I left Boeing Aircraft Company because my husband was transferred to another state." The Story of a B-17 Riveter at Boeing Aircraft

See the video on Rosie History and evaluation of this WWII Icon: Rosie the Riveter

Shortages on the Home Front

During World War II Du Pont was forced to divert its nylon production to war-related materials, such as parachutes and aircraft tires. The nylon stocking shortage had begun. In America, the demand for nylon stockings was so high that people began paying $20 on the black market (before the start of the war they had cost a little over a dollar). In Chicago, police ruled out robbery as a motive in a murder case because the perpetrator had left behind six pair of nylon stockings at the crime scene! History of Household Marvels

Categories: 1942

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Page last modified on January 16, 2010, at 07:20 PM