You have surely heard the old saying that if you want to
know what’s going on, follow the money.
This find is a result of that.
Not in the dollars and cents aspect, but from the arcane bureaucracy that
came from government regulation of the economy during the WWII emergency. Capitalism and centrally controlled economies
are more than a tad incompatible, but total mobilization to win WWII tipped the
scale toward the latter. The agency
responsible for deciding who got what resources and what they got made into was
the War Production Board. To do this,
they had to keep track of what industry was doing, so they collected data,
reams and reams of it. But before the
internet, the favored means of communication was the US Mail. Industry had to provide periodic reports that
told the WPB how many widgets they made that period, what resources they
consumed, etc. But to make sense of all
that, it had to be provided in a standardized format so the WPB clerks could
aggregate the info from A.A.A. Mfg. Co., through Ford Motor Company and General
Motors Corp. to J.A. Zurn Mfg. Co.
Why did I mention AAA and JA Zurn with the likes of Ford and
GM? Because the WPB needed info from
every plant using controlled materials and they are the first
and last entries
in the Mailing List
for Form WPB-732, Plant Report of Operations.
OK, but what did these plants make? For that, we need a not so super secret decoder
ring, the Industry Classifications from the 1939 Census of Manufacturers.
They are in Waltham, MA, which falls in Region 1 for labor
markets, with an area code of 017
And that is the Boston-Quincy area as shown on the following
map from the back of the mailing list:
The Mailing List is available on Google Books at
while the Industry Classifications is available on Google
I hope that you find this WWII industry information helpful.
28 January 2023