CO-ORDINATING the war efforts on the production front is probably the most gigantic program ever attempted. In addition to trying to fit ordnance production into peace time plants, another great problem has been finding additional machinery to bring to these jobs.
The army, navy and War Production Board have been doing a round-the-clock job keeping the war production lines in motion. Our own mail and that of our advertisers is literally swamped with requests for more machinery. In spite of this, we continue to get reports on situations which need more than just ordinary attention. They need airing. We get information about so-called American firms which are holding back critical tools while other war contractors are burning up the wires trying to locate some of these machines. One of the best-informed machinery men in the country called the turn on one of the most flagrant of these cases. He has been unable to get any action out of the governmental agencies that have the power to requisition machine tools, whether idle or not. They appear to be reluctant to seize for fear of stepping on forbidden grounds. At the same time there seems to be no hesitancy on the part of these government bureaus to “turn on the heat” on smaller manufacturers who have an idle or partly idle tool.
Drafting man power is an accepted custom. But drafting a flock of gears wrapped up in a cast-iron housing in the hands of some, seems to be taboo. They tell us in Washington that if you threaten requisitioning, you will find a couple of Congressmen camping on your doorstep the next morning. To some politicians, the business of keeping their home fires burning is more important than keeping our guns firing on the round the world fronts.