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-   -   World War II Rationing never listed SPAM? (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=96072)

josephz2va 04 October 2017 11:57 AM

World War II Rationing never listed SPAM?
 
A Facebook friend of mine stated that this is a fake poster.
According to his information:
"The listing of Spam as one of the items that are rationed! Spam was only available to military personnel during the war. It was created specifically for the military and after the war ended it was processed for the public. It didnít have the name SPAM until then. It was just called canned meat!"

https://www.survivalkit.com/blog/les...ng-in-britain/
https://www.survivalkit.com/blog/wp-...438401b104.jpg

KirkMcD 05 October 2017 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by josephz2va (Post 1960662)
Spam was only available to military personnel during the war. It was created specifically for the military and after the war ended it was processed for the public. It didn’t have the name SPAM until then. It was just called canned meat!"

Well, no. It was always called Spam and was first introduced in 1937.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_(food)#History

Beachlife! 05 October 2017 05:14 PM

1 egg a fortnight though, that's rough.

GenYus234 05 October 2017 05:22 PM

Not sure about that article.

Quote:

People were entitled to 1.5 eggs per week, two pieces of bread per day and two ounces of lard or margarine per week. Individuals could have two ounces of cheese per week as well as an allotment of canned goods that varied depending on availability.
Eggs were on a variable schedule based on supply and varied between 1 and 5 eggs per month (the sign, if legitimate, would probably have been rewritten each time the ration changed). Bread was never rationed during the war. Butter, margarine, and cooking fat rations were a total of 8 oz per person per week (maximum 2 oz butter, 2 oz fat, the rest to be margarine).

http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearc...srre1943010100

ETA: Bread was later rationed, but by that time other supplies would have increased. For example, at no time would someone have been limited to two slices of bread and 1 (or 2) ounces of cheese.

crocoduck_hunter 05 October 2017 05:24 PM

The British ended up with quite a bit of Spam. The famous Monty Python sketch was due to the fact that for years it was the only meat some people got on a regular basis, and they were quite tired of it.

Richard W 05 October 2017 06:29 PM

I would guess that it's a modern reproduction of a sign, made for a school project or something.

The part that looks suspicious to me isn't the Spam as such (although I've no idea whether that would be rationed like that - Spam's a brand name, so if so, it must have been down to individual grocers rather than the rationing laws), it's the pricing for the meat:

Quote:

Lamb = 9p per lb
Beef = 11p per lb
I would have expected them to use "d" not "p" for pence there, in pre-decimal currency - as they have in 1/1d on the other side. (I'm not even sure they'd have written that in that way either - wouldn't it be either just 1/1 or 1s 1d?)

I could be wrong about both of those, but those are the things that look inconsistent to me. Also that it looks like it was drawn up in felt-tip pen, and felt-tips apparently weren't invented until the 1960s!

So, as I said, I'm guessing a class project about rationing that might not have got all the details quite correct for the period, since the object would have been to illustrate the general principle rather than to accurately reproduce a poster of the time.

(eta) The cheese bit, too. Why would people shopping during WWII need to be shown what 1oz of cheese looked like? They'd already know - and it doesn't show similar pictures for the meat. Again, that suggests that it's to illustrate the idea to modern schoolchildren rather than anything contemporary.

(eta again) PS Hello! It's unusual to see new posters these days!

Richard W 05 October 2017 06:49 PM

Sorry, another point that occurred to me about the Spam part is that even if it hadn't been available to the general public until after the war (which isn't true anyway, as above), that wouldn't in itself prove anything because food was rationed long after the war - until the 1950s, in fact. Rationing didn't end completely in the UK until 1954.

Wikipedia looks quite good on the amounts allowed for each foodstuff, but I haven't checked if it agrees with the poster (or if it's reliable):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ration...United_Kingdom

GenYus234 05 October 2017 07:11 PM

Based on the information from the CQ Press, the poster is a new one, not one that would have existed at the time.

Most of the poster would date from late January of 1942. Fat totals would have been 10 ounces from December 1941 to January 1942. But sugar was 10 ounces from mid November 1941 - mid January 1942 so it would have to be after that. Cheese was at 1 ounce between May 1941 and July 1942. But jam/preserves/syrup were at 2 oz per week only from March 1941 to July 1941. By the winter of 1941/1942, the preserve rations would have been 4 ounces per week, 1 ounce of which had to be syrup.

If I had to guess, I'd say that was a new poster created from the Wikipedia page on UK rationing as it matches the minimum ration table in the chart including the discrepancy between jam/preserves/syrup and the other items.

Beachlife! 05 October 2017 07:28 PM

I'm wondering about the modern (plastic) push pins being used. I know they had push pins, but did they have plastic bodies in the early 40s?

WildaBeast 05 October 2017 07:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard W (Post 1960830)
I would have expected them to use "d" not "p" for pence there, in pre-decimal currency - as they have in 1/1d on the other side. (I'm not even sure they'd have written that in that way either - wouldn't it be either just 1/1 or 1s 1d?)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard W (Post 1960835)
Rationing didn't end completely in the UK until 1954.

When did the UK switch to decimal currency? That was in the 1950s as well, wasn't it? But I don't know if it was before or after rationing ended.

Seaboe Muffinchucker 05 October 2017 08:16 PM

1970, WildaBeast.

Seaboe

WildaBeast 05 October 2017 08:51 PM

It was that recent? I was thinking it was earlier than that.

Richard W 05 October 2017 08:59 PM

It was actually 1971, I believe, although some trial coins were minted and introduced earlier. (You used sometimes to get 50p pieces dated 1969, so far as I remember - and glad to see that I wasn't misremembering. You don't get them any more because the coin was redesigned in the 1990s in a smaller size).

According to the Royal Mint page there it seems to have been a more gradual process than I'd realised. I guess that there was a period when they were getting people used to the idea that "1 old shilling = 5 new pence"; technically it was still pre-decimal but some of the new coins were out there. Until they redesigned the 5p and 10p coins and changed their sizes, there were still old 1s and 2s coins in circulation which were the same size and composition, and were interchangeable with the decimal equivalents.

erwins 05 October 2017 09:20 PM

Would signs from during the war be titled "wartime rations"? It seems like it would be more likely to just say "rations" or current rations, or the date and rations. Not definitive, but it adds to it not ringing true as actually from that time for me.

ETA: Eh, turns out it's more plausible than I thought. In a Google image search, I did not find any signs titled like this one, but there seem to have been plenty of contemporaneous similar references, like a Wartime Cookbook, and wartime food. So, never mind. The signs I did see pictures of were titled "Rationed" followed by a list, or just listed the rations without a title, or said something like, "you are limited to:" followed by the ration list.

Thinking about the signs I did see raised another question though. Would a single merchant have carried all of the items on the list? Would you buy tinned meat, preserves, and onions in the same place as fresh meat, eggs, cheese, and sugar? I thought one-step type grocery stores were a relatively recent development.

GenYus234 05 October 2017 09:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beachlife! (Post 1960843)
I'm wondering about the modern (plastic) push pins being used. I know they had push pins, but did they have plastic bodies in the early 40s?

US Patent 1991511, filed in 1933, shows a modern push-pin shape with a head made out of celluloid.

ETA: Also, previous push pins were made of glass, which could look quite similar to a plastic headed one. I didn't see any previous patents with a "modern" shape to them except one which had a roughly similar shape but a metal body.

Richard W 05 October 2017 09:33 PM

Yes, ignoring the Spam detail, I think it's obvious that the poster itself isn't actually from WWII for all sorts of reasons (mostly listed above by various people). The felt tip pen is the most obvious on the face of it, even though it wasn't the first that occurred to me. But the Spam part doesn't seem to be one of them! Or if it is, not for the reason given in the OP.

I don't think the plastic pins are, either, since it could have been a modern photo of a wartime poster stuck to a modern board. (The fact that it's in colour suggests that the photo is more recent too - I know colour film was around in WWII but who would be using it to take a photo like that? It was rare and expensive).

I still say it's a classroom project.

GenYus234 05 October 2017 10:08 PM

The US Farm Security Administration took about 1,600 color photographs from 1939 to 1944. Some of them are of special events like county fairs, but many of them are of ordinary rural or town life. One of them is basically a store front with all of the various prices on display. It isn't too terribly unlikely that a similar picture would have been taken in WWII era UK.

The Library of Congress has a Flickr page with many of them. It's worth a look all by itself.

ETA: I still think it is a recreation, I mostly made this post to link to the cook pictures.


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