I've always kept a fuzzy, wordless idea in my head for what "pre-war" was. From working the IPDB, I think I've moved away from a day or a week to more of a transitional period of time. Not particularly in the vicinity of December 7, 1941 so much, but more in the vicinity of when the pinball companies responded to December 7, 1941, either voluntarily or by government order. Here is what I wrote on the IPDB based on an article I read from the Chicago Daily Tribune dated March 17, 1942:
"On March 16, 1942, the War Production Board ordered the shutdown of all manufacture of pinball games, jukeboxes, weighing machines, and other amusement machines, effective May 1, 1942, to concentrate materials for the war effort. Approximately thirty companies, mostly in the Chicago area, and employing about 10,000 people, were affected by this order. Eleven of the thirty companies were already producing parts for bomb sights, artillery shells, parts for airplane gun turrets, and other war items."
So, it appears it was not like someone threw a switch and all companies reacted in lockstep. That's not surprising, is it?
Companies had inventory to kill off in the face of production quotas. Genco apparently took it right up to the wire. I wrote:
"According to the manufacturer's ad placed in Billboard magazine dated May 2, 1942, this was their last game due to the shutdown in production as ordered by the War Production Board." You can see the ad here:
I've always wanted to see what items the pinball companies made during the war when they were not making pinball machines. Not just read about them, but see them. Pictures of them. Instead of just having a big hole in the pinball timeline. This might be a time to mention that a colleague was searching ebay for "Keeney" and stumbled on a few wartime items. I decided, what the heck, let's add them to the IPDB, with pictures, creating a new Specialty in our Advanced Search pulldown menu called "WWII Contract". You can see them here:
It's not much, that list, but a humble beginning, and might be fun for our users to see them. So, if you ever stumble upon a wartime item branded by a pinball company, give me a holler. If you see it on ebay, email me the URL with item number and put "ebay" in the Subject line so I know to jump on it right away before the auction expires. I hardly expect the Specialty to grow by leaps and bounds, but it's another way to enjoy the hobby, I suppose.
P.S. Here is the article from the Chicago Daily Tribune, which I found interesting:
War Production Board - 1 - Chic Daily Trib 19420317007 (resized).jpg