Connecticut Industry during World War II: Supporting the War Effort
The six images chosen all depict Connecticut industry during World War II. More importantly, though, they demonstrate how willingly and effectively industries and their employees contributed to the war effort. Through bond drives, increased and specialized production, and even blood donations, Connecticut companies had a large impact on the success of the war effort.
Many employees were willing to give some of their pay to bond drives. The American Brass Company of Waterbury held a bond drive in the winter of 1942. One picture shows a truck full of people supporting a poster which reads: “Sure I’m Willing to Sign For 10%”. Even in a hard time people were willing to give 10% of their payroll to the bond drive. Another American Brass Company photograph depicts a crowd of employees signing up for the same bond drive. Both photographs show just how important the war effort was to the companies, who organized the bond drive, and the employees, who were ready to contribute to it. Another picture, from the New Haven Railroad ‘Along the Line’ newsletter in June of 1942, shows a truck, overflowing with volunteers, with a sign supporting a blood drive done by the company with the American Red Cross. The sign says that the blood would “Save a life of a soldier or sailor”. This is yet another example of the enthusiasm of employees and companies to help with the war effort. It shows that businesses used their access to large numbers of people to organize these successful campaigns.
The E. Ingraham Company of Bristol, Connecticut was awarded an Army-Navy “E” Award. The award was given to companies if they demonstrated excellence in war production. During the war, the company had adjusted to fit production needs by making anti-aircraft and artillery fuses. They originally made clocks and watches, but by 1942 they had completely switched over for war time manufacturing. Such a change shows how much was asked of many during the war, and clearly, how much they were capable of when called upon by their country. The large crowd at the award ceremony displays the support given by the public. Awards or other recognition for particularly outstanding war time production show that it was valued and considered important by many at the time.
Two other photos focus on the employees themselves. One is from the Farrel Company, which manufactured machinery during the war. The photograph shows a row of over twenty workers standing behind a gun mold. This conveys the idea of how many people were involved in every aspect of industry. It took so many workers, all contributing, to achieve a set goal. Another photograph, from the New Britain Machine Company’s newsletter, shows a female employee operating a piece of machinery. She, and many others, donned their coveralls to fill needed jobs during the war. This well-educated woman didn’t need to work, but she chose to. Others like her also showed support by giving their time and helping the war effort by becoming involved in industry.
Whether it was campaigning for a blood drive, taking a new job, or signing up for war bonds, the public was prepared to take part in the war effort in some form. For many, Connecticut companies and industries were the perfect starting block. They ran and organized these blood donation campaigns, provided job opportunities, and set up bond drives. They even gained awards for their involvement in the war effort. Connecticut companies encouraged the public to become active and gave them chances to help out, many of which were taken.