World War II disrupted the lives of many, in many ways; one of its most noticeable in the HVACR industry was in material restrictions of steel. The May 4, 1942 “Bulletin Edition” of The NEWS reported shortages of refrigerant cylinders, and warned that “New Restrictions Will Tighten Delivery of Materials.”

Under a number of official orders, industrial raw materials were being inventoried and accounted to the government, specifically to the War Production Board (WPB). Soon after, the WPB barred the use of steel and iron for a/c systems and other items. Under Order M-126, manufacturers had 15 days to accept the delivery of iron or steel, another 45 days to process it into parts, and another 45 days for product assembly (The NEWS, May 11, 1942).

The same issue reported that the Army and Navy Munitions Board had rescinded an order prohibiting the use of Freon as a refrigerant in new installations with a capacity greater than 5 hp.

We also learned that gas rationing was not going to affect commercial vehicles to the degree that was anticipated. In general, though, the guiding dictate was to reuse and recycle to help the war effort. After May 15, 1942 - when the many restrictions would go into effect - the government ordered that only three sizes of water heaters would be available.

Publication date: 05/30/2011