About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....
 

Donna's Diary Posts

My Favorite Blog and Books
Recent Posts
Please log in or Create an account to post or reply to topics.
You will still receive notifications of replies to topics you are part of even if you do not subscribe to new topic emails.

Comments On Article: Pw Thursday New Items For 1940

1,672 posts (admin)
Thu Jul 04, 24 10:42 AM CST

If you would like to share your comments for article PW Thursday New Items For 1940, this is where to do it! 

Click the Reply To This Topic button below to post yours.

M
20 posts
Thu Jul 04, 24 11:42 AM CST

Well, this was a shock to calculate my age from 1940…. I would have been born during Reconstruction. And, being from the South, and know that rogue Sherman left my great grandmother’s family without food for the winter, I know I would have been raised with the mindset of making do or repairing what I had. I’d put food by as much as I could. And I’d prepare for hard times and not have all my eggs in one basket

G
10 posts
Thu Jul 04, 24 11:55 AM CST

I look forward to your posts daily. It has given me so much to think about. We had our first apartment right after we married in the 1960's. It was small but we were happy. 

When the Vietnam war was heating up, my husbands aunt was on the draft board. She gave my husband a heads up that if he didn't sign up, he would be drafted. Signing up offered him a better option of doing what he wanted to do in the Army. 

We spent a year in New Jersey while he studied for his job in the Army. We lived in a very old house that had been divided into four apartments. Very small, but fine for us. When we landed in Germany we lived in a tiny apartment on the 4th floor of a very old building. Think a ton of steps up and no elevator. The toilet (water closet) was down the hall, there was a room with a couch that folded out into a bed, a tiny sink in a tiny space called the kitchen, where there was a two burner stove, no oven and the shower was in the kitchen. Interesting times, but we were happy. 

Living small and without all the stuff left us time to do things we truly enjoyed. We have inherited from two sides, accumulated and now feel overwhelmed in a 3600 square foot house. It is a waste of one's life to constantly care for things. Our goal for the next twelve months is to eliminate 60% of everything. We will be doing that as we focus on the 1940's.

I grew up using a wringer washer and wish I had one today. They get the clothing much cleaner and are lovely to use. The 1940's through 1950's had much more innovative kitchen designs and appliances than we do today. The refrigerators, cabinets and stoves were user friendly and much nicer looking.

Thank you, Donna, for this wonderful blog and the opportunity to grow friendships as we learn together. I love reading everyone's comments.

Glenda

A
16 posts
Thu Jul 04, 24 12:52 PM CST

You mentioned women using pads held up by belts.  I was wondering when pads became a thing.  My mom said when she started her periods, they used rags which were then soaked, rinsed, washed and used again.  For my mom that would have been around 1933.  Sounds terrible but makes sense.  By 1943 I know they were using pads.  I know belts and pads were all that was available for me in 1955 and I don't recall when things changed.  Of course, by 1973 I had surgery and no longer needed them.

T
48 posts
Thu Jul 04, 24 12:53 PM CST

To be my age in 1940, I would have been born in 1902.  I was trying to think if I had any ancestors who were close to my age in 1940, but not really.  One set of great grandparents would have been twelve years older, and the other almost thirty years older, while my grandma and grandpa were still in their teens.  I guess I will go with the great grandparents born in 1890 since they're the closest.  They lost their farm in Canada to dust storms in the late 30's, moved to Wisconsin to stay with relatives, then moved again when those relatives turned out to be Nazi sympathizers, and ended up sharing a crowded apartment with two other families. It sounds rather stressful to be them in 1940, but in the long term they did okay.

As an interesting aside, my great-grandmother broke her hand in one of those wringer washers.  I guess you have to be careful not to feed your hand through with the clothes!

T
48 posts
Thu Jul 04, 24 1:06 PM CST

Ann W,

It doesn't sound terrible to me at all, although calling them "rags" does give it kind of a dirty connotation, and is not a term I would use.  

I myself switched from disposable pads to reusable menstrual cloths in my late teens, and although environmental concern was the driving factor for me, I quickly learned that they are also more comfortable and less prone to leakage, to say nothing of the cost savings.

L
11 posts
Thu Jul 04, 24 4:12 PM CST

My adored step grandmother told me about rags (remember that phrase of being “ on the rag”).  Held in place initially with safely pins. Washed, bleached and put out on the bushes to dry.  Would have been quite hygienic.  My mother showed me about belts and Kotex before summer and was utterly appalled.  Mom was very uncomfortable with such topics so thankfully I had the grandmas . Did pads once and bought myself Tampa. Mom didn’t they were proper. I opened the directions and the problem was solved.  I hated the worry about a leak. Anyone else remember the plastic tampon holder that held 2 tampa.   Discrete in the purse.  I know what the thought was about virginity and tampons but it seemed so silly to me.  

I was not at all rural. So the memories  of these times fascinates me.  We lived in Pittsburg, Cleveland, Chicago.  I was middle school/ 9th grade when Vietnam was winding down  but friends had brothers who served there.   (Please thank Charles for his service ) I most clearly remember the vibe and the anger of those times  Hippies, the music, ironing our hair, hot pants and the anger towards the governments   The angry marches  (I digress)

The places I mostly lived in were suburban and in Chicago, rather affluent.  We lived in large homes that had no furniture. Haha.  They furnish with  older and mid century  wood furniture.  Painstakingly stripped and scrubbed. And then painted cream or brown. . A cream colored oriental rug was in the living room. My brother and I laughed that mom was going to stretch a velvet rope across the entrance. But I did not know a 13 year old kid that didn’t have a job   Everyone worked ever school and Saturdays    Some new clothes purchased at start of school but clothes were passed around the neighborhood for many of my friends. Maybe 3 wool skirts and blouses and 2 sweaters  a Sunday dress   Killed our clothes in summer bc we were tomboys   But we virtually NEVER ate out   I was dying to go to Arby’s like a GF  haha   Mom was a wonderful cook and meals were great times   Looking back it’s remember the mindset I recall  Directly passed from the grandparents to my parents   I think my attitude about money actually came from gram   Money=hardwork   Save every month   Save more   Save first   Wants vs Needs   Sanding and repainting the filing cabinet was far superior to buying a new one ( eh)  Having fewer special times makes it more exciting   A super special time is playing cards and having a root beer float  I’m sure my parents had worries  and hard times and ambitions and such  but things felt good most of the time   I wonder if it’s just our older minds remembering this as so good   But life was such a rush   

I know we all talk about lack of community  I’m not good about this at all   What is wrong with me ( and perhaps others of you) that I’m not calling up friends, acquaintances and having them over for a simple dinner   Or Sunday baseball game and popcorn and a beer   Are we all wishing the community would just appear for us?    A blogger I enjoy has 4 grown sons   And 7 freshly adopted, hard to place kid s ages 3-8   The other week, she and a few of the kids in a wagon and her dh walked all over their new neighborhood to come to their house  They were grilling chicken and they could bring a side   Tons of neighbors!!!!  All excited to be there   Surrounded by a new community   She didn’t wait!




 

l
5 posts
Thu Jul 04, 24 4:35 PM CST

I was born in 1956 in the hot state of Texas. I cannot imagine wearing a rubber apron under a dress in the Texas heat. It may have been cooler before climate change but I remember plenty of  sweltering days. My schools were without air conditioning & I remember my nylon slip plastered to my legs from sweating. Sanitary belts were also awful. The invention of a sanitary pad with adhesive backing was a blessing in my humble opinion.

M
9 posts
Fri Jul 05, 24 12:02 AM CST

Grandma Donna,every morning I look  forward to reading your blog posts and the comments that follow. It is so interesting. Goodness me, if I were my age in 1940 I would have been born in 1890. That is incredible to imagine. 

The first house we lived in when we got married in 1996 was a small timber home built for returning servicemen serving in WW2. It was still all original inside. It had cabbage rose printed linoleum in the bedrooms and each room in the house led to the next so you could walk clockwise through the house. 

The bathroom had a cast iron enamel bath and sink and so did the kitchen. When we moved in we found a note from the children of the original owners telling us to clean and polish the bath and sinks with kerosene to keep the shine and keep them looking nice. The kitchen had a beautiful blue and white Metters Early Kooka cast iron enamel gas stove and the built-in pantry cupboards had fly wire in the doors like a meatsafe. The laundry was in a lean-to out the back. We were so happy there and the house started my love affair with old homes. It has ended up being the newest house I have ever lived in.

T
7 posts
Fri Jul 05, 24 9:04 AM CST

Oh my, I would have been born in 1876 if I'd been my age in 1940 ~ that's almost 20 years before my great-grandparents were born.  Looking at the 1940 catalogs with all the nice clothes in them makes me long for the 1960s and 1970s when I was growing up.  My grandmothers would always "go to town" to shop wearing their best dresses and shoes.  Every time I go out to shop now, I see someone wearing their bedroom slippers, pajama bottoms, or both.  My grandmothers would have been horrified to see this.  I really don't like most of the clothes sold now because they're frumpy and cheap looking.  People just don't care how they look anymore when they go out in public.  It's really sad.  But then most of what's socially acceptable now days is sad.  I especially don't like hearing so many people using curse words when they talk now.  Back when I was a kid if anyone cursed like this, especially women, they'd have been ostracized by other people.  It wasn't acceptable, and still shouldn't be.  I keep telling my husband that it should be mandatory for every American citizen to be given a Thesaurus so they can learn other adjectives to use than the disgusting "f" word.  

Edited Fri Jul 05, 24 9:41 AM by TimeWarpWife
A
49 posts
Fri Jul 05, 24 10:03 AM CST

Oh my.  The links to these catalogues are so much fun! 

A
49 posts
Fri Jul 05, 24 10:04 AM CST
TimeWarpWife wrote:

Oh my, I would have been born in 1876 if I'd been my age in 1940 ~ that's almost 20 years before my great-grandparents were born.  Looking at the 1940 catalogs with all the nice clothes in them makes me long for the 1960s and 1970s when I was growing up.  My grandmothers would always "go to town" to shop wearing their best dresses and shoes.  Every time I go out to shop now, I see someone wearing their bedroom slippers, pajama bottoms, or both.  My grandmothers would have been horrified to see this.  I really don't like most of the clothes sold now because they're frumpy and cheap looking.  People just don't care how they look anymore when they go out in public.  It's really sad.  But then most of what's socially acceptable now days is sad.  I especially don't like hearing so many people using curse words when they talk now.  Back when I was a kid if anyone cursed like this, especially women, they'd have been ostracized by other people.  It wasn't acceptable, and still shouldn't be.  I keep telling my husband that it should be mandatory for every American citizen to be given a Thesaurus so they can learn other adjectives to use than the disgusting "f" word.  

YES!!!! The slippers.  What the heck is up with that?  Pajama bottoms!  And yes on the "f" word. I've heard  parents calling their children, "get the "f" over here."  What happened to us?

J
11 posts
Fri Jul 05, 24 11:28 AM CST

I am just old enough to have worn nylons at senior school, the colour was American Tan. They were held up with stocking clips a roll-on or a suspender belt.  The first tights were quite expensive and laddered easily, we had to repair them. A dot of nail varnish might stop the run. 

The clothing catalogue for 1941 is wonderful. Look at all of the buttons on coats, and the pockets. It is rare still to have a pocket on a dress or skirt. I hope this link will work. Production of clothes and household goods were reduced drastically from 7th,  June 1940, the news report is from The Times.  Clothes rationing started in June 1941, and Utility Clothing went on sale in May 1942

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9YEmL63LPE8

https://www.itsbeyondmycontrol.com/a-brief-history-of-cc41-the-utility-clothing-scheme/

Attached Photos

Edited Fri Jul 05, 24 11:45 AM by Janet W
T
14 posts
Fri Jul 05, 24 1:14 PM CST

I love reading the daily posts and everyone's comments. We truly are a kindred spirits community on here.

It's my goal to find a wringer washing machine this year. But every time I read about it on here I can't help but think of the Call the Midwife episode where Cynthia gave Chummy her old baby, knitted cardigan with the shell buttons on that was from her mother's wedding dress, and Chummy crunches them up in the wringer! :) 

Grandma Donna, your tiny first apartment reminded me of the attic "apartment" that James Herriot and his new bride  (the new All things great and small) lived in when they got married. It was in the same house as the Veterinarian practice and the rest of them lived in. Tiny but cozy.  With rent so expensive nowadays, I think we should bring back boarding houses or rooms to rent! 

The photo attached is of my great grandmother on their farm in South Africa, circa 1940. The treadle sewing machine was on the back porch and she made everyone's clothes on it, including wedding dresses for family and friends to make some extra income. 

Attached Photos

D
22 posts
Sat Jul 06, 24 3:50 PM CST

I figured when I would have been born...and checked it with the calculator, as I didn't trust myself, and came up with the same year  1875. I do believe I am between my grand parents and great grandparents births. I will have to check that out for sure. Lots to study about in the 40's and now I want to know about 1875.  :)

M
14 posts
Sun Jul 07, 24 2:30 PM CST
I am loving looking thru the old catalogs! I found it interesting that you could buy full set of furniture cheaper than a typewriter. It's the equivalent of the computer costing more today. I totally get the phone fatigue, the constant pull or distraction. I wouldn't have a phone but I have two kids, one in college that has anaphylaxis, so I need to be reachable.  I have set boundaries because they are 20 and 25, and the 20 year old is still in college-on college time...so I get texts and facetimes pretty late! I don't want to shut that down because I love that he reaches out just to chat but told him let's do this earlier!!  They have a different concept of time at that age!!  My 25 year old daughter has already graduated and is on her own and is more on my time zone!!  I was on the beginning end of the phones having more access to texting and internet when my kids were little and I swear I was the ONLY mom at the park not looking at a phone!!  I saw it happening back then! Even though I don't use mine for games or everything there is...I do find a pull sometimes just for no good reason!!  Loving the 1940s!!
G
307 posts (admin)
Sun Jul 07, 24 9:40 PM CST

Grandma Donna Wrote, Hello to all of you, I have had so much fun reading your comments.  I am excited that some of you are doing the math on your age by subtracting your read age right now from 1940 and finding out when you would have been born if you were in 1940 at your age now.  Many of you have had quite a shock when finding out when you were born, but it really does draw you in to wanting to know more about those years you would have lived.  This can be an exciting study and adventure if you want it to be that. :)  I love your pictures and stories, just wonderful to read these.  You are helping to make this even more interesting for Charles and I.  

I want to say here that my website is having a few internal things done this week on my server and they are telling me that it might be down for a few hours here and there this week.  Not sure of when this will be so don't worry, I will be back. 

23 posts
Sun Jul 07, 24 10:45 PM CST

Goodness! I would have been born in 1871! That's the time of Laura Ingalls Wilder's growing up years! I'm not sure, but I think a lot of my family were farmers then. 

Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage!

Laura

The LORD bless you!
Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage
http://harvestlanecottage.com
G
10 posts
Mon Jul 08, 24 7:00 AM CST

Calculating one's age back from 1940 is so intriguing. I would have been born in 1865 and my husband in 1863. The Civil War would have been raging. It makes me think of all that would have been happening and the heartache people experienced. I lost a gg grandfather in the Civil War. It reminds me of all of my ancestors that were involved on both sides. I am so glad genealogy has always been a passion of mine. I never imagined how it would be so helpful in my current life. 

 Thank you Donna and Charles for bringing forth such a wonderful and interesting year. Thank everyone for your comments that give us insight into the past.

A
16 posts
Mon Jul 08, 24 4:06 PM CST

My g-g-grandfather died at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain and is buried in a federal cemetery near there.  All my grandmother knew about her grandfather was that he went to war and never came home.  I so wish I'd started my genealogy search before her death because I have a wealth of information about him now.  For instance, he had a brother and sister plus a number of half brothers and sisters.  The last was born in 1860 and his mother died in childbirth.  I knew my g-g-grandfather's daughter Ella who died in 1955 when I was 12.  My grandmother's father died when she was 7 which could be why she had so little history although his sister, Aunt Ella, was a regular correspondent and occasional visitor.  1940 minus my age would be 1859. 

In 1940 there were Civil War veterans still alive, and my grandfather pointed out a very old gentleman with a long white beard at church saying he'd served in the Civil War.  My grandparents were born in 1892, 1895, 1888 and 1890 and for that generation the Civil War was recent history.  Several other of their grandparents also served.

As well as how people lived in 1940, it's important to think about what their world view was at that time.  Saying the person we are talking about was just coming of age in 1940, the Great Depression was not really over although things were improving.  Their parents had lived through WWI, the Spanish Flu and raised their families during the Depression.  Their grandparents were from the Civil War era.  The War in Europe was looming reminding them of WW I.  Homes were just beginning to have electricity and running water in towns.  Most farm families did not yet have such amenities and the majority of people lived on farms at that time.  Just to survive most people worked very long and hard hours.  

An extreme example:  My late dh's grandmother was born in Iowa in 1885.  In 1905 she married an immigrant coal miner.  They had a son that died at 1 month.  She then had a son and daughter who were toddlers when her husband died in a coal mine accident.  She then moved to Illinois live with her mother and stepfather (her father was deceased) and worked in a laundry while her mother cared for the children.  In 1916 she remarried a widower who had a son and daughter.  (The daughter hated her and ended up living with her paternal relatives.)  Her daughter from the first marriage drowned at age 12 and the son was killed in an auto accident at 21.  During the Depression her husband who had worked as a mechanic for the railroad was out of work and they moved to Missouri with her son and their son and daughter from second marriage.  (Stepson was also living with paternal relatives by that time.)  I heard from a neighbor of theirs at that time that the kids would have starved had not her family fed them.  They later moved back to Iowa where he found work as an auto mechanic, and they had another daughter.  Her second husband was a mean man and abused her and their son -- (not sure about her son and his kids and their daughters).  After he died, she lived with youngest dd where she was not abused but not treated well either.  When the dd and family moved to Florida, they put her in a home in Iowa and that is when I feel like I first knew her.  Without all the oppression she was a delight to know.   This is a worst case example.  

In that time frame women were subject first to their fathers and then their husbands.  Many of them had good loving families but if you didn't you had to suck it up and keep going.  There really was no way out.  Divorce was available but not easy and usually required money which a housewife would not have had.  Also, a housewife would not have had skills to support her family.  Maybe if it was just her, she could have worked as a housekeeper and survived.  

S
15 posts
Wed Jul 10, 24 5:56 AM CST

I have read a lot about menstruation in the past, this (very messy) site is great for information and very entertaining: Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health (mum.org)

About 20 years ago I was the very first in Denmark to import and sell a menstrual cup called "The Keeper", made of natural rubber, so very environmentally friendly. But it was not a thing back then, and most women found it disgusting. I don't think it is, it is just your own blood. I also used cloth pads, they were the softest and much better than disposable pads. It was no big deal washing them, I put them in cold water, which made sure all the blood came out, dried them, and washed them in the machine with our towels (heated water). After about 12 years use there wasn't a stain on them. 

21 total messages
Please log in or Create an account to post or reply to topics.
Loading more pages
Loading more pages

NEW! Join the mailing list to get email notifications when new articles are posted to our site.

Your information is safe with us and won't be shared.

Thank you for joining! 

IMPORTANT! 
You were sent an email to confirm your subscription to our mailing list.
Please click the link in that email to confirm or you won't be added.
If you have not received the email within a few minutes please check your spam folder. 

 
Loading More Photos
Scroll To Top
Close Window
Loading
Close