Old News – War Rationing

Rationing during World War I has even effected women’s clothing. Wool is needed for military uniforms for the troops that are headed to Europe. Did this War rationing lead to tighter and shorter skirts for ladies of the 1920s?


Friday, Jan. 11, 1918


Patriotic action is demanded of women in clothes as well as in food. There was an important meeting in New York which consolidated the co-operation of the trade with the commercial economy board, which has its headquarters in Washington. The government knew that it was useless to appeal to women to save wool in the building of their clothes, under the present commercial circumstances of clothes selling. The great majority of women buy their clothes. They do not make them at home. They but what they can get, and they do not know the amount of material contained in a garment.

Therefore, the government  made its appeal for co-operation in the conservation of wool to those who make and design women’s garments. At this meeting it was resolved and rules were formulated that no man or woman in America would use over 4½ yards of wool in any costume, and less, if possible.

The American tailors and manufacturers of ready to wear clothing will cut off the long jacket for women when it is made of wool, no matter how light the weave; they will eliminate fullness in the skirt and cut it as short as decency will permit.

The slim silhouette will be accepted between Hudson Bay and Palm Beach and then crosswise. The women who cries out against a narrow skirt either because of tradition or as artistic perception of what her figure needs, need not gnash her teeth. All she has to do is to eliminate wool from her gown or suit with another material.

One of the quick ways which has leaped into fashion for women to conserve wool for the army is the use of a short, slim separate skirt with a cutaway coat of velveteen, heavily lined. Women who have such costumes declare that they will wear these skirts with corslet blouses of soutached silk and satin in the spring, thereby saving cotton for the government..

Rochester TV Life

Irene Mates; local dancer & dance instructor

I added three issues of Rochester TV Life from 1952 to the GenWeb of Monroe County. There was only one TV station in Rochester at that time; WHAM. That station in 1955 would change there call letters to WROC and remain that until today. these magazines also have TV listings for one station in Buffalo and 2 in Syracuse.

One issue has a story on the western Wild Bill Hickok. There is a picture of Bess Myerson in another issue. She was Miss America in 1945. By 1952 she was appearing on the daytime game show The Big Payoff. She was on other game shows and often appeared in commercials for many products.

Available issues:
March 22 – 26, 1952.
March 29 – April 4, 1952.
April 12 – 18, 1952.

More on Old Time Radio

I didn’t write anything about the history of radio programs in the previous post. This may be helpful in understanding how it is that are so many old radio shows on the internet.

Radio was basically experimental  broadcasting until station KDKA signed on in 1920 in Pittsburgh. They first broadcast election results in November of that year. They were only on the air for a couple of hours per day. Soon after beginning broadcasting they also started airing advertising to offset the cost of running live programming.

In Rochester, station WHQ started broadcasting in Feb. 1922 but only existed for a few months before folding. Station WHAM signed on July 11, 1922 and is still broadcasting today. Station WHEC started in 1925. Early radio stations broadcast just about every format in the early years and it was all live. WHAM has changed formats over the years and now are a talk radio station. WHEC was sold a few times is now WHIC, Catholic radio.

Network radio started in 1926 when NBC – Red started sending programs to a few allied stations. There was also NBC – Blue formed in 1927. CBS also started in 1927. The now forgotten Mutual Broadcasting Network started in 1934. The Federal Communications Commission forced NBC to sell off NBC – Blue and in 1943 it became ABC. The formation of networks made better programming available to more people. It also made it easier for advertisers to sell to national audiences.

About 1930 another innovation was what was called the transcription disk. Old 78rpm records could only hold about 5 minutes of recording. So a new format was started where a 16 inch record would run at 33?rpm. For some reason, the oldest of those records played from the center to the outside edge. Those records meant that a whole program could be put on a record. At first these records were only made as a network archival copy and a copy was sent to the advertisers so they could hear the recording. Networks also found out that if something went wrong with a broadcast they could broadcast a transcription. One of the earliest radio programs for which transcriptions still exists is The Empire Builders from 1930.

Fast forward to World War II when the government wanted to have troops in Europe and the Pacific to be able to hear American radio music and programs. They created Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) which created many transcriptions and sent those overseas. Those AFRS transcriptions are now part of many collections. AFRS still exists but broadcasts radio and TV signals via satellites.

As TV started to take hold in the 1950s old time radio broadcasts started to fade. Some shows that had originally been a half hour were cut back to 15 minutes and many shows were cancelled. By 1960 there were very network programs as most radio stations went over to broadcasting recorded music.

Then in the 1960s collectors started buying up all the old radio transcriptions. By the 70s there were few left on the market. Those collectors started transferring the old programs on to tapes and trading them. Those tapes were of lesser quality than the original transcription disks. A few old radio shows were sold commercially on both tapes and records. A threat of lawsuits were put forth by the networks who still owned the rights to the programs. Those lawsuits never went anywhere because it wasn’t worth the expense that the networks would have to spend to get control of programs that had little future value.

When the internet came on the radio programs were changed over to mp3 files. Most of those mp3 files were off the poor quality tapes plus they usually were saved in a low bit rate meaning that a lot of the mp3s were of even poorer quality. So most of the mp3 files are third or more generation from the originals. You can buy CDs of old radio programs on eBay and elsewhere but almost all of those are available on the Internet Archive or other online sources for free.

It is said that the National Archives has 300,000 AFRS radio programs on transcription disks. If those would be made available it would be the largest collection online. They probably won’t make those available anytime soon as the National Archives is more strict on material that might still be in copyright.

There is this list of old radio programs on Wikipedia. If you click on a title it gives a description of the series. Another list of radio programs is this list by Jerry Haendiges. If you click on a title on his website it will tell dates and titles of individual programs. There was a book, “The Big Broadcast; 1920 – 1950” by Frank Buxton and Bill Owen that described each known series. It is out of print but there used copies available on Amazon. Frank Buxton died on Jan. 4th and there is this nice obit by one of his friends.


Today is Christmas for Eastern Orthodox churches; ie. Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox. They use the Julian calendar so dates are a little off from the Gregorian calendar that most of the rest of us use.

A neighborhood near my high school in Elmira Heights, NY was prominently Ukrainian and about 1/3 of the students and teachers would be absent on Jan. 7th every year.

So for the last time this season; Merry Christmas.