Spending hours listening and watching radio and television reports about the horrific events that occurred on September 11, one couldn’t help but notice that all the reporters and anchors were comparing these events with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

While the event itself was not specifically covered in the December 10 issue of The News, the ramifications of the attack on the industry certainly were. Headlines such as “All-Industry Exhibition January 12-15 Will Spotlight Role of Refrigeration’s Men and Machines In Times of War,” and “New Priorities Plan Grants Ratings to Obtain Materials for 3 Months” were commonplace in the issues immediately following the bombing.

Preparing for War

The United States had been preparing for war prior to December 7, 1941, but the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor hastened the entry of the United States into the war.

Because of this ongoing preparation for war, the United States was ready to implement various plans for war materials production. Information on the logistics of these plans needed to be shared with the industry right away, as illustrated by an article from the December 11 News.

The article, titled “War Industry to Go on Full-Time Basis,” began this way:

“WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 9 — An industrial Mobilization Plan scheduled to be put into effect immediately will place all industry concerned with production of materials for war on a 24-hour basis, and will put all such industry under the direction of the nation’s armed forces, it was predicted here.

“It will call for drastic changes in production methods, amounting virtually to the reorganization of industry, and will seek to push the United States war effort to double the present output. The program will see the first use of the industrial mobilization plan which Army and Navy officials have been preparing over the last 20 years.”

Planning for the Future

In another article (“Gov’t Refrigeration Specifications Are Debated by ASRE”) in that same issue, a report described that the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE) meeting that year had a “Where do we go from here” temperament, which was a “state of mind brought about by the Defense emergency.”

C. W. Shearman, from the federal government’s Office of Production Management, spoke about a 100% effort for defense by industry as a whole was needed and that metal shortages were as bad or possibly even worse than they seemed. However, he did indicate that in terms of government purchasing was concerned, there was no “shortage” of Freon or ammonia.

“In buying refrigeration machines and equipment,” said Shearman, “the government is interested in three main points: purchase price, maintenance, and salvage value.

“This third factor is rather important. For instance, if the Army buys a refrigerating plant and figures to use it only five years, it is interested in knowing whether or not there will be a market for it then.”

Publication date: 10/01/2001