Note: The following is one of a series of articles looking at events in the history of Bulloch County.
K. E. Cantrell's PhD Dissertation, entitled “Consuming Victory: American Women and the Politics of Food Rationing During World War II,” was completed in 2018 at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Cantrell explained how the organization was created through “Executive Orders,” to control the collection, storage and distribution of America's products, as well as those which this country needed, but didn’t produce.
In May 1940, the National Defense Advisory Committee was created to regulate America's economy. It had three arms: the Price Stabilization Division; the Consumer Division; and the Agricultural Division.
By April 1941, the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply was created. This was followed by the Office of Price Administration, which was formed to stop the beginning of rampant inflation on the homefront.
That is why the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942 was established, as it gave the OPA the legal authority to set the maximum prices that could be charged on almost all products.
The OPA divided the nation into nine regions. Region IV served Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
On Dec. 27, 1941, Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed an executive order prohibiting the sale or delivery of rubber goods. Thus, the Bulloch County Tire and Rubber Rationing Committee was created.
Its members were Chairman J.L. Renfroe, Cliff Bradley and Herbert Kingery. Distribution of all rubber tires and rubber tubes was to be controlled in each county by these committees.
This was necessary, for 98% of America's rubber came from the Far East. Once the Japanese overran the rubber producing countries, imports of rubber ended.
Sale of used tires was unrestricted, but mileage on cars was checked regularly by authorities. There would be no joy-riding using tires up for no good purpose.
New tires, however, were another thing altogether. The January 1942 allotment of new tires for the state of Georgia was 22,257 tires, or a tire for one of every seven vehicles registered in the state of Georgia.
Shortly thereafter, it wasn't just tires being rationed. In the Jan. 14, 1943 issue of the Bulloch Herald, new restrictions were announced. These affected the war time coupon ration books.
The gas coupons in Ration Book A were good for three gallons of gas until Jan. 22, 1943. One’s driver’s license and the gas station redeemed at, had to be written on the back of each coupon.
Tire inspection for 1943 had to be completed by Jan. 31. New or recapped tires purchases had to be authorized by the local rationing board. Book A holders had to have their tires inspected every four months.
Books B and C holders had to have their tires inspected every two months. Truckers and holders of Book T had their tires inspected every 60 days or 5,000 miles. Period Two coupons got nine gallons of fuel oil.
Household products like coffee, sugar and meat required ration coupons. Those with Stamp 28 in Book 1 got one pound of sugar. Those with Stamp 10 in Book 1 got eight pounds of sugar until Jan. 23.
Special Stamps 15 and 16 got five pounds of canning sugar to put up garden fruits and vegetables. Those with War Time Ration Book 2 got whatever meats were available only until January 15.
The Herald went on to describe how farm machinery could be purchased. Dorris R. Carlson, the chairman of the Bulloch County Rationing Board, said applicants seeking new machinery had to go to the rationing office.
It was set up in the Bulloch County AAA office. Here, they filled out the MR-20 form, which stated if they were unable to either repair their current equipment or buy other used machinery.
If approved, the farmers who got new equipment had special stipulations. They had to let other farmers use or rent their new equipment. Their old equipment would be turned into scrap if not repairable.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history who provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.