Friday, September 17, 2021

Ration Stamps in a Box

Here's a recent find from among all of the stuff I hauled from my parents' house when I didn't have time to look at it: a cigarillo box that belonged to my dad's grandfather, in which he kept his World War II gas ration stamps.

The box contained his last set of gas ration stamps, which went out of use almost as soon as the war ended in mid-1945:

My great-grandfather died in mid-1946, so the items in this box were some of the last things my grandmother had of his. There were some other items in the box that were more personal, but the gas ration stamps feel like a piece of public history.

I learned not too long ago that rationing of one kind or another continued in Britain until 1954 (!), with petrol rationing until 1950. Juxtapose that with the immediate go-go post-war period in the U.S. (the Baby Boom, right?). 

In retrospect, we probably could have used more restraint then, since it was the time when our country did a lot of long-term physical damage to our cities in the name of "progress."


Jean said...

I recently learned that Britain's post-war rationing eventually even applied to BREAD. Which wasn't rationed during the war. They had just as much enthusiasm for building 'progress,' though. Milton Keynes was supposed to be a futuristic utopia, and the beautiful buildings of Birmingham were knocked down for concrete blocks.

Michael Leddy said...

Helene Hanff’s 84, Charing Cross Road has many references to rationing. Hanff sent all sorts of treats, edible and non-, to the people of the bookstore, post-WWII.