One of the great things about the “war effort” during World War II was that almost everyone gave something. Consumers made sacrifices on many goods better used to serve the troops. Production across the U.S. also ramped up. Research products produced several World War II products that helped protect consumers at home and soldiers throughout the world.
After Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt told Congress “powerful enemies must be out-fought and out-produced.” America set staggering new benchmarks for production during the war, doubling output in just 4 years. Since much of the male workforce was enlisted, women were vital to the war effort. The growth and innovation that occurred during the war helped solidify the manufacturing boom that helped grow the middle class through the 1950s.
The War at Home for RP: World War II products developed by Aprilaire
Like many American companies during the second world war, Research Products Corporation – the parent company of Aprilaire – designed and manufactured World War II products specifically to support America’s effort. Some of these products made their way to the battlefield.
- “Curtain is Raid Protection” – This was the headline in a 1943 newspaper clipping about some of the company’s war-related products. One photo shows office worker Ann Bock demonstrating the use of the company’s blackout curtain and flying glass protector. Blackouts were a means of defense against air raids during World War II. Military aircraft still relied largely on human site when identifying targets on a bomb run. Blackouts were more common on the east coast. The caption of the article points out that Ms. Bock “doesn’t really fear Madison is going to be bombed”. She was happy to do her part for the war effort, though.
- RP Silica Gel – This was an absorbent material that helped prevent moisture damage, corrosion, and damage to vital war goods. These included machine guns, airplanes, and antibiotics. You still see silica gel packs today in new products like shoes. (Aprilaire’s parent company sold off the product line shortly after the end of the war).
- Expanded Fiber Material – Similar to the material used to make the blackout curtains, this heavy kraft paper was also used to make camouflage, air filters and other products for the battlefield. Newspaper articles discussing the products had headlines including, “Madison Sends ‘Silent Convey’ to Guard Vital War Machines,” and “Allies Depend on Research Products Corp.”
Aprilaire is proud of its history to support the war effort.