November 1942 QST
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
QST, published December 1915 - present. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
Most of us have heard about the neighborhood collections for tires, glass, newspaper, cans, and cloth in order to help support the war effort. Probably not many have also heard about the Signal Corps' call for milliammeters!
That's right, the huge, rapid build-up of electrical and electronic equipment for radios, vehicles, and factory equipment. Many meters were needed for monitoring status and making process adjustments. America had an ample supply of meters in the hands of Amateur radio operators; all that was required was to separate the Hams from their meters. Fortunately, an appeal to patriotism was sufficient motivation back then. Numerous ads were placed by companies and special interest groups like the ARRL encouraging milliammeter owners to part with their cherished instruments.
Here, from the November 1942 edition of QST, is a printed plea from the ARRL, and a couple examples of companies looking to collect milliammeters. At the bottom are two ads, one from Raytheon, and one from Hatry & Young, with pleas for meters.
One must wonder whether such cooperation from the public would be met with the same level of enthusiasm today. Back then, the government was not already saddling its productive citizens with excessive taxation, so there was some room left in the hearts of most people to sacrifice a bit for the good of their neighbors. Now, statistically I'm subsidizing the half of the people in the country who pay no income taxes at all, the people receiving 99 weeks of unemployment checks, laptop computers for everybody's kid in school, and public employees getting paid rates 50% or more higher than the equivalent average private sector employees.* Sorry, but that's the way it is.
Your Milliammeters Desperately Needed!
Pleas for Meters by Raytheon
Pleas for Meters by Hatry & Young
The Signal Corps is in acute need of thousands of milliammeters. They are most urgently required in connection with the production of other radio gear. Lack of them is retarding the manufacture of important military apparatus. The situation is realty critical.
Amateurs have thousands of milliammeters and the Signal Corps wants to buy them, but regulations would require formal contracts with every selling armature and would delay the procedure beyond endurance. ARRL has leaped into this situation at the request of the Signal Corps and, to speed things up, will purchase and pay for meters in their behalf and turn them over as fast as they can be collected.
This is a clarion call. fellows. Send in your milliammeters to ARRL! On behalf of the Army we will pay $3 for every d.c. milliammeter of up to 500 ma. full scale which is sent in to us, of whatever make, the amateur list price of which exceeds $3 and which is accepted by t he Signal Corps. Meters not accepted will be returned. Only milliammeters and only d.c. May be either (1) in good working- condition or (2) burned out but otherwise OK - movement, glass, scale, pointer must be OK. The crying need is for low values, preferably 0-1 ma., 0-5 and 0-10, but we'll take everything up to 0-500. Don't hold out your Weston 301s; this is for Uncle Sam and everyone of these meters wilt do a most important job, the details of which we can't tell you. Three dollars for a burnt-out dog may be big money but it isn't much for a 301; everybody admits it. It's just a token payment, not representing value returned. We must count on your patriotism, your appreciation of the criticalness of the need, your acceptance of a flat average price of $3 for all your milliammeters, good and bad, which are accepted. Reimbursement by ARRL.
This is a case or dire necessity. Much depends upon this drive. Remember, too, that a favor to the Signal Corps now is a favor to hamdom later. Your meter will help cement a friendship that will last a generation. Besides, it's your country. The hell with the holes in the panels; you can get more milliammeters when you need them. Come on with them., you fellows! At once! Pack carefully in shock absorbing material, mark package "Meters," be sure to show your name and your own complete mail address clearly, prepay charges, ship any way you like, to:
American Radio Relay League
38 LaSalle Road
West Hartford, Conn.
* Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, "Comparing the Compensation of Federal and Private-Sector Employees, 2011 to 2015." That does not include non-salary benefits like insurance (health, disability, life), retirement contributions, etc. I have a relative who is a double-dipper government employee receiving two retirement checks from We the People, and also has collected Social Security since age 64 because unlike my SSA payments that would be reduce on a 1:2 basis depending on my continued work income, government employees' payments are not reduce no matter what additional income they earn.
Posted December 7, 2018 (original 3/28/2011)