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Old 10-09-2020, 01:49 PM   #1
ericr
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Default Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

Has anybody heard that the scrap drives (with the exception of aluminum) were really not needed and were designed to ballyhoo the population for the War effort?

I know that copper was a much-needed metal for the War, but old frying pans etc.?

One of Dad's friends owned a drug store and to buy a new tube of toothpaste, you had to turn in an old tube. There was apparently some lead content to the tubes. The druggist had a large pile in the back room and when the war ended, he simply threw them away.
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Old 10-09-2020, 03:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

A quick internet search would provide an answer. I have been a long time fan of The Straight Dope, so here is something he posted long ago. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.str...o-boost-morale Let’s hope the link works.
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Old 10-09-2020, 03:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

It certainly did not hurt to use all the resources available at the time. Ford used scrap iron/steel on a regular basis as a part of the smelt during the process of making their iron and steel even before the war. Some was generated by the "in house" manufacturing processes and some was purchased prior to the war. During the war, the War Department had a lot to do with the materials that were utilized by all the manufacturers of the necessary items needed to fight the enemy. The War Department set up the national War Production Board which worked hand in hand with state production boards to allocate all the resources. They say that the scrap metal drive in October of 1942 resulted in a gain of 82 pounds of scrap metal for every person in the United States. That's a lot of scrap. These drives went on throughout the war. Cooking oil was saved by most american homes and was brought to the state board locations to be used in the manufacture of explosives. Everything was tightly rationed so as not to use too much of the limited resources available to keep the industrial and agricultural products flowing where they needed to get for both worker and soldier alike.

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Old 10-09-2020, 03:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

What does ballyhoo the population mean? You talk with a funny tongue.
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Old 10-09-2020, 04:01 PM   #5
Gary in La.
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

I remember after the war there was a shoe box up in the attic of our farm house in Wisconsin full of folded up tubes of those lead containing wrappers. That was a very heavy box. Then I was told of the war effort.
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Old 10-09-2020, 04:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

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ballyhoo? please explain.
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Old 10-09-2020, 04:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

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What does ballyhoo the population mean? You talk with a funny tongue.
LOL well if I said "shoot them in their rumble seat with a glory gun" would that
make it clearer? If not, I am merely saying that the authorities wanted to keep morale and support high for the war effort through scrap drives.
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Old 10-09-2020, 04:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

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Originally Posted by mhsprecher View Post
A quick internet search would provide an answer. I have been a long time fan of The Straight Dope, so here is something he posted long ago. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.str...o-boost-morale Letís hope the link works.
-pretty informative discussion, sounds like the scrap movement ran the gamut of intentions and efficiency.
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Old 10-09-2020, 05:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

Ballyhoo:
a lot of noise and activity, often with no real purpose:
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Old 10-09-2020, 08:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

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Old 10-09-2020, 08:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

Maybe we were lucky they scrapped those cars. If there were more old cars around, we'd all have to own more!
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Old 10-09-2020, 09:32 PM   #12
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

We used tooth powder in those days.
During the war my Dad bought a 200 acre farm in Wisconsin.
After we got the crops and cattle moved we noticed a 40 acre pasture was heavily covered with milk weeds.
A few mornings before I went to school (first grade) after milking the cows the old man wood get the FordFergusen out and we’d ride over to that pasture and get a few gunny sacs of milk weed pods.
The government was paying 25 cents a sac for them.
They were using them to stuff life preservers with.
It was a bid deal to be so patriotic in those days. Especially for a six year old.
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Old 10-09-2020, 09:55 PM   #13
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

I don't know! The old Franklin zinc (NJ Zinc Co) mine was going great guns with 3 shifts. They must've needed that zinc and the Iron and manganese they pulled out of that hole! Battle ships (Remember them?) and carriers, IIRC had hull thicknesses of 13" (Correct me if I'm wrong) That's a lot of steel! Never mind the 16" naval rifles that were on the decks. They needed a lot of steel! And manganese Bronze and Aluminum bronze! And the rolled a lot of aluminum sheets, And I mean a lot! I believe the govt really needed all those old frying pans just to build the machines that built the ships, cannons, jeeps, 6x6es, M1 Garands, shellcasings, shells, M4 Shermans, and so on.......! I think the whole thing was based on the very real needs of the war.
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Old 10-09-2020, 11:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

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I don't know! The old Franklin zinc (NJ Zinc Co) mine was going great guns with 3 shifts. They must've needed that zinc and the Iron and manganese they pulled out of that hole! Battle ships (Remember them?) and carriers, IIRC had hull thicknesses of 13" (Correct me if I'm wrong) That's a lot of steel! Never mind the 16" naval rifles that were on the decks. They needed a lot of steel! And manganese Bronze and Aluminum bronze! And the rolled a lot of aluminum sheets, And I mean a lot! I believe the govt really needed all those old frying pans just to build the machines that built the ships, cannons, jeeps, 6x6es, M1 Garands, shell casings, shells, M4 Shermans, and so on.......! I think the whole thing was based on the very real needs of the war.
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100% in any country involved.
Up till the end of the tank battle between Rommel and Paton in the Middle East, tanks were fabricated from sheets of steel. The battel raged back and forth as one, then the other got a new shipment of tanks. Australian engineers worked out how to make a steel casting much bigger than had been possible before (about the size of a football). We didn't have the industrial capacity to make the most of the development but the US did. The new tanks were made from 3 castings far quicker than the old way. The three were chassis with motor, transmission etc, the body and the turret. We showed them how to do it and they were able to get more tanks on the ground than Rommel. That freed up our troops to return home just in time to stop the Japanese army's advance in New Guinea (Kokoda Track - Google it, very interesting. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kokoda_Track_campaign). Meanwhile, the US navy put an end to the Japanese navy in the Coral Sea. Australia stopped them on land, the US stopped them on the seas. Then came "The Big Bang".
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Old 10-10-2020, 12:54 AM   #15
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

Second guessing history seems to be in vogue these days!
Let’s say it just never happened and it didn’t.
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Old 10-10-2020, 01:52 AM   #16
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

The scrap drives did not significantly increase the amount of scrap collected as compared to pre-war levels. However, they may have increased the amount collected as compared to a counterfactual in which they never occurred. While we'll never know for sure, we do know that during the war, there was a significant factor decreasing the amount of scrap being collected: price controls.

The following is taken largely from Hugh Rockoff's 2007 paper, Keep on Scrapping: The Salvage Drives of World War II:

The Office of Price Administration, worried that hoarding of scrap could "start an inflationary price spiral whose consequences would have been disastrous for the stabilization program," set scrap price ceilings early and set them low. "Iron and steel scrap prices were placed under control in April 1941, well before Pearl Harbor, and were not freed until November 1946." These controls made seeking out and collecting scrap unprofitable for small dealers, who performed a lot of the "last mile" work of getting scrap to scrapyards. Many of these dealers, in turn, quit the scrap trade and went to work in wartime industries instead.

"Given the steel industry's voracious appetite for scrap... it was nearly inevitable that there would be an iron and steel scrap drive. The first initiatives came from the steel companies and from International Harvester. Then in the summer of 1942 the War Production Board backed these private sector efforts with a call for a national drive...

"Farm country was an especially inviting target for scrap collection because farmers often held on to used farm machinery. International Harvester encouraged the collection of farm scrap and its dealerships served as collection centers. Harvester’s involvement was undoubtedly motivated mainly by patriotism. But it did say that improving the relationships between farmers and Harvester dealers would pay postwar dividends... Farmers normally cannibalized their junked farm machines for used parts to keep older machines running. If the junked machines were scrapped during the war, it would be harder to keep old machines running after the war, forcing farmers to buy new ones."

"Barringer argued that the drives did bring in additional scrap, and estimated that in 1942 and 1943 the salvage drives yielded about 4,000,000 additional tons of scrap. This was about 8.33% of consumption of purchased scrap in 1942 and 1943 and 3.67% of total consumption of scrap." However, "it amounted to about 1.6% of total steel production during the war. To put it in more familiar terms, this was about 24 days of production... it is clear that even in the absence of the patriotic salvage drives the United States would have produced enough scrap iron and steel to supply its steel industry and to equip its fighting forces."

One final note: It's not the case that the aluminum drives, the first of the scrap metal drives, were successful. They produced mostly low-grade aluminum that was wholly unsuitable for aircraft. "It turned into a fiasco, with great piles of pots and pans languishing in collection points because no one would cart the stuff away, and anyhow, its value in plane production was nonexistent."
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Old 10-10-2020, 04:44 AM   #17
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

IMO, if it raised the morale of the population to feel that they were contributing to the war effort, the scrap drives had benefits other than the collection of metal.
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Old 10-10-2020, 08:26 AM   #18
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

One thing that always rankled me was the "Gun drives" that they had. The Govt told gun owners they should donate their privately owned rifles, shotguns, pistols etc. to the British so their people could resist the coming German invasion. We donated thousands of guns, which the Brits never returned. They used them to reinforce concrete sidewalks, etc after the war, and we never saw them again.
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Old 10-10-2020, 08:28 AM   #19
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

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Old 10-10-2020, 09:28 AM   #20
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Default Re: Scrap Drives May Have Trashed Cars, But Were the Drives Necessary?

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One thing that always rankled me was the "Gun drives" that they had. The Govt told gun owners they should donate their privately owned rifles, shotguns, pistols etc. to the British so their people could resist the coming German invasion. We donated thousands of guns, which the Brits never returned. They used them to reinforce concrete sidewalks, etc after the war, and we never saw them again.
Terry
There was a similar thing with the cooking fat drives. The public perception was that the cooking fat was needed for glycerin to make ammo, but in fact the gov't had no trouble sourcing enough glycerin. Rockoff writes:
"Munitions makers operating on cost-plus contracts with the government could easily outbid rivals for what they needed. Rather, the fat salvage drive was undertaken for the soap makers who organized and financed the drive. Soap production was high during the war by prewar standards, and fat supplies were also relatively abundant, especially later in the war. By January of 1944, lard was so abundant that the government was having storage difficulties. But price controls meant that there was excess demand for soap. Early in the war (organizational meetings for the fat salvage campaign began in April 1942), soap makers feared that if soap were rationed, some of the consumers forced to cut their use of soap during the war would learn that they could do with less. Rationing, in other words, would spoil postwar markets. As far as the soap producers were concerned, anything that would avoid the need to ration soap was worth doing."

The fact that all these drives were "public-private partnerships," with the affected industry absorbing a lot of the publicity costs, gives you a different sense of whose interests were being served.
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