Monday, April 16, 2012

Victory! A World War American Homefront Collection

Well I had planned to blog about starting the garden, but Pat's latest antiquing "Take A Trip" got me thinking it has been a while since I shared some of my World War I & II "Home Front" collection. So let's do that first, then we'll talk gardening (maybe even Victory Gardening!) later.

I've blogged before about the shop-made toys of the WWI and WWII eras: how Germany and Japan had previously been the source of most playthings, trinkets and knicknacks found in the "5 & 10 Cent Stores", but when war started, those imports were cut short. In addition, local factories all converted to making necessities. So the wartime sources for toys were local small workshops, print shops and mom-and-pop side businesses all over America. 

Here's a cardboard playset called "Forward March". The many little soldiers are diecut standees, and the board opens out as a map on which to array the armies.

The little set of red and yellow ships, tanks, and "Big Bertha" type guns are molded composition, died with cochineal and yellow food coloring.

The carved and wood burned "Tank Bank" has little wheels on the bottom, a place to insert pennies for saving, and it is a souvenir of Victoria, Texas. Sometimes known as "poker work", by using a poker or soldering iron to decorate it, no paint was needed. Electric woodburning tools were a popular Christmas gift for kids & adults for many decades.

That little growling bomber plane is a pinback, probably a bit of sweetheart jewelry worn by a mother, sister, wife or girlfriend of a guy in the brand-new "Army Air Corps", which was the forerunner of today's Air Force.

Ever-popular Jigsaw puzzles reflected hopeful themes during the war, and this one titled "Welcome Home" probably gave a serviceman's family much comfort as they dreamed of the day their boy would return from where-ever  Uncle Sam had sent him. The box prominently features the "Buy Savings Bonds for Victory" advertisement.

The "Buy War Savings Bonds and Stamps NOW" notice is in a deck of Russell Artcraft Pinochle playing cards. Card games were a HUGE source of entertainment in those days, and nearly every family had a card table they could set up to play on. Couples got together and played rummy or bridge or pinochle or Canasta (Canasta was THE game in my family! Anybody wanna play?)whenever they had the opportunity.

The Victory theme was everywhere! These are two of my favorite little items: a spool of thread and a little box of bobby pins. The Victory Hair Pins' "Vicky victory - Hair Aid Warden" (playing on the "Air Raid Warden" who helped coordinate evacuation plans for each neighborhood), and a sewing thread company's mascot, "the Corticelli Kitten" in his own little kitty helmet, with weapon and bayonet, marching off to
serve his country. 

In both instances, the cute themes reflect serious rationing of raw materials as well as manufactured goods and food items: the hair pins were meant to be carried back to the beauty shop for reuse on your own hair, just as we carry our shopping bags today, because "Uncle Sam needs the Steel!", and the Belco thread was a substitute for unobtainable silk and nylon, both of which were being consumed as parachute material for our fighting men.

I keep running out of "blog space" before I get to the books, albums, and paper items in my collection. Oh well, there's always next time!  If you collect Home Front or World War memorabilia, please post and tell us about your favorite items in your collection, and why you appreciate them.


  1. Very nice!

    Back in the day, savings banks used to give out little brass banks shaped like busts of George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln.

    Sadly,we don't see much in the way of patriot-themed toys and goods anymore. Such items don't appeal to the Blame America First crowd.

  2. Thanks! Those coin banks were great. You are right that it is sad that multi-national banks don't think patriotism is valuable enough to promote. Yet they are quick to stand under the flag when they need bailouts!

    Before the insane inflation of the past 10 years, one could actually accumulate enough coins in those little banks to do something with. My mother has always used different small banks to save through the year for various things: Christmas, insurance, property taxes, emergencies. It is a great way to avoid debt.

    Thanks for reminding me of them. That would be a good element to add to my collection. :-)



Related Posts with Thumbnails