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ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES


Illinois at War, 1941-1945

A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives


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DOCUMENT 35
WOMEN OF ILLINOIS CAN HELP WIN THE WAR, SAVE ALL FATS AND GREASES
1943



Explanation

Robert Tieken, chairman of the Illinois State Council of Defense Salvage Committee, wrote the DuPont Chemical Company on May 20, 1942 in part as follows.

We are attempting to dramatize the fats and grease salvage effort for the State of
Illinois and have been advised that ordinary animal fat yields twelve per cent
glycerine. We would like to determine how many pounds of glycerine is needed
for a 2,000 pound bomb, or enough high explosive for a depth charge, or any
other popular use for glycerine in the manufacture of high explosives. We would
like an example as dramatic as possible to impress upon housewives the urgency
and vital necessity of saving small amounts of grease.

F. F. Chapman, assistant director of DuPont's Explosives Department, replied on March 25.

We are in sympathy with your movement to salvage household grease and regret
that we have no information which would be of assistance to you as glycerin or
nitroglycerin finds very little use in bombs, depth charges and other military
explosives.

As glycerin is a by-product of the manufacture of soap, we suggest that you
contact the soap producers regarding the importance of salvaging grease.

Supplies of vegetable oils and animal fats truly were inadequate and grease collection was a worthwhile if not glamorous endeavor. Instead of being needed for munitions, animal fat was an essential ingredient in the manufacture of soap, medicinal solutions, protective coatings and lubricants.

Points to Consider

How were fats and greases being touted as a war resource?

What role did glycerine have in the manufacture of munitions?

How might fat and grease collection have been somewhat impractical during the summer months in rural Illinois?

Besides the collection of household fats and greases what would have been other major sources of this product?

See Related Document: 44


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