1995‎ > ‎


363. Aug. 2, 1995 - Local shops worked on atomic bomb:
Journal-News, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 1995
Local shops worked on atomic bomb
By Jim Blount
The first atomic bomb, dropped from the "Enola Gay, a B-29, leveled Hiroshima, Japan, Monday, Aug. 6, 1945. A second bomb fell on Nagasaki Thursday, Aug. 9, and Japan agreed to stop fighting five days later. World War II in Europe had ended May 8, 1945.
The effort to produce the bombs was code-named the Manhattan Project for the non-existent Manhattan Engineer District, invented by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to help cloak the secret weapon from the Axis powers.
The government said 1,012 Ohioans had been hired to work at atomic plants at Oak Ridge, Tenn., Hanford, Wash., and Los Alamos, New Mexico. That total included about 30 former employees of the Remington Arms Company at Kings Mills in Warren County. They had been recruited through the Hamilton office of the U. S. Employment Service for jobs at Hanford.
The Sall Mountain Company, north of Hamilton on Rockdale Road, west of Ohio 4, produced insulation for Oak Ridge. About 20 railroad boxcars of asbestos had been shipped from the local plant.
The Mosler Safe Company of Hamilton and the American Rolling Mill Company (later Armco and now AK Steel) of Middletown cooperated in producing cyclotrons. This included the 406,550-pound magnet used in the cyclotron at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, where some of the basic atomic research had been conducted.
"The magnet was made of the finest high grade carbon steel, and had to be perfect, without fractures, blowholes or other flaws," a press release explained. Mosler earned the task of finishing the castings for the cyclotrons "because of its experience in machining and polishing enormous steel vault doors with an accuracy of two or three-thousandths of inch."
Mosler workers were sent to Hanford to completely reconstruct the instrument with some delicacy in a laboratory after "they had handled (it) with cranes and hydraulic jacks" in the Hamilton plant.
It wasn't until 1993 -- when safety questions were raised -- that participation of another Hamilton industry was publicly revealed. Only a few employees at the Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Company (later acquired by Diebold) were involved in handling and grinding uranium bars.
Starting in 1943, they worked with the mysterious material on the third floor of the factory located between Erie Highway (Ohio 4), Grand Blvd. and the railroad.
A report on the secret operation by a Manhattan Project inspector said fires were a problem as Herring-Hall-Marvin employees worked with the bars which fueled reactors. "The metal frequently catches fire while being machined or milled," he said.
"We were told that it was a highly secretive military effort, involving exotic material," a former supervision told the Journal-News in 1993. "As to having specific knowledge as to what it was, I don't know that we were ever told," he said. "We thought it was kind of funny," said another former employee. "The third floor was sealed off and there were armed guards that watched the scraps."
In April 1995 -- nearly 50 years after the bombs were dropped -- the U. S. Department of Energy reported it had  cleanup of radioactive contamination at the former Herring-Hall-Marvin plant.
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364. Aug. 9, 1995 - Tension released as World War II ended:
Journal-News, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 1995
Tension released as World War II ended
By Jim Blount
"From a quiet, tense city, Hamilton's transition to a city of joyous pandemonium was rapid and complete," said the Journal-News in reporting Japan's surrender and the end of World War II.  Hamiltonians heard the welcome news broadcast at 6:02 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14, 1945.  President Harry Truman announced victory 1,348 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941.
The official capitulation had been expected since Friday, Aug. 10 -- the day after the second atomic bomb had devastated Nagasaki -- when Japanese leaders said they were ready to discuss surrender.
"Within seconds after the historic news flash," the newspaper report said, "factory whistles blew, church bells rang and the din of automobile horns added to the cacophony. Airplanes of the Civil Air Patrol soared over the city, dipping their wings in a victory salute."
There were few people on the streets as the president's radio address started, "but within 30 minutes, thoroughfares in the business district were jammed with celebrants, and by 7 o'clock it required football tactics to obtain passage through the rapidly growing throng" along High Street between Third and Second streets.
Shortly after 7 p.m., police blocked traffic on High Street from Monument Avenue to Fourth Street, and on Second and Third streets from Ludlow to Market Street.
Starting about 7:35 p.m., rain dampened the scene, but not the spirit of the celebration. "None seemed to care whether their clothing was soaked," the Journal-News noted.
The downtown street blockade remained until about midnight as "thousands tossed confetti, some tooted horns, others just whistled or shouted," which "all added up to the greatest celebration in Hamilton's history," the newspaper explained. "Two confetti stands were erected at Second and High streets early in the evening and they did a land office business."
The junior drum and bugle corps of Campbell Gard Post 1069, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Inman's Band added music.
In contrast, hundreds quietly attended pre-planned peace services in several churches.
"The finest tribute that can be paid to Hamilton is that it was unstinted in its celebration of peace, but it didn't allow pent up emotions to get out of bounds after the historic  announcement that the greatest war in history had ended," the Journal-News observed.
"There was a celebration, the greatest in the city's history, but it was a joyous one with violence and vandalism conspicuously absent," the Journal-News said. "It was a lively, but very decent celebration," said Traffic Sgt. James O'Connor. Hamilton police arrested only three people, one for stealing a car.
Unlike V-E Day (Tuesday, May 8), there was no need to curtail the festivities. After a 16-hour V-E celebration, Hamilton had returned to its war-time regimen the morning of May 9 as citizens heeded President Truman's grim reminder that "our victory is but half won."
For some Hamilton families -- who realized casualty reports would still be coming -- the V-J exuberance was restrained until word arrived of the safety of loved ones who were in the final Pacific campaigns.
More than 16,000 Butler County men served in World War II, and at least 372 didn't return. More than 400 were wounded.
Hamiltonians represented more than half (8,161) of the 15,267 men drafted into the armed services in Butler County. That number represented about one out of every four males in the city of 50,592 inhabitants (1940 census).
Sept. 2, 1945, in ceremonies on the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japanese representatives signed the formal surrender. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz signed for the United States with General Douglas MacArthur accepting the surrender on behalf of the Allies.
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365. Aug. 16, 1995 - V-J celebration two-day event:
Journal-News, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 1995
V-J celebration two-day event
By Jim Blount
Wednesday night, Aug. 15, 1945, was "an encore," the Journal-News said, as "about 20,000 crowded streets in the business district to resume their merrymaking" to celebrate the end of World War II. The report said "the throng wasn't as large as the previous evening, but it was every bit as noisy."
President Truman -- who had announced Japan's surrender at 6:02 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14 -- ordered a two-day V-J (Victory over Japan) legal holiday for Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 15-16, and Hamilton banks and most businesses complied.
Tuesday night, shortly after 7 o'clock, the crowd in downtown Hamilton had prompted police to block traffic on High Street from Monument Avenue to Fourth Street, and on Second and Third streets from Ludlow to Market Street.
The celebrants awoke Wednesday to more good news. That morning, Chester Bowles, administrator of the Office of Price Administration, removed gasoline, canned fruits and vegetables, fuel oil and oil stoves from the ration list.
Bowles said meats, fats, oils, butter, sugar, shoes and tires would remain rationed "until military cutbacks and increased production brings civilian supplies more nearly in balance with civilian demand."
Tires had been the first items rationed, starting in January 1942. Food restrictions began in May 1942 when Americans were limited to one pound of sugar per person per week. Also in May 1942, price controls had been invoked.
Hamilton shoppers reacted to the Bowles deregulation announcement with heavy buying, but "nothing in a the nature of a run," the Journal-News said. "Canned fruits, particularly peaches and pineapple, were being purchased in greatest quantity, and the same held for catsup and chili sauce."
Also Wednesday, the War Manpower Commission announced cancellation of all war-related employment restrictions in the Greater Cincinnati Area, including all of Butler County.
War demands had opened Hamilton factories to women in record numbers. High school students also were hired to fill positions. There were about 450 high school students working in Champion's Hamilton mill when the Japanese surrendered.
The good news continued during the last two weeks of August 1945.
The War Production Board said it would revoke most of its restrictions on fabrics for civilian clothing, effective Oct. 1. The war program had limited civilian supplies of wool, cotton and rayon, and eliminated cuffs, pockets and other frills.
"A mild building boom" was reported in Hamilton by Frank E. Weaver, city building inspector, based on issuance of 37 permits in July and 196 for seven months of 1945. "With the coming of peace, some building materials which held high priorities during the war, should be released before the end of the year." Weaver said "there are many business establishments and individuals ready to repair their properties or erect new structures when those materials are available."
A job boom also was expected, despite elimination of war contracts in many Hamilton plants. "The overall picture looks good," said W. A. Betscher, manager of the Hamilton office of the U. S. Employment Service. A survey by Betscher's office indicated about 3,000 workers would be needed within a few months, and as many as 5,000 within a year.
Companies checked included Beckett Paper Co., Champion Paper & Fibre, Columbia Machine and Engineering, H. P. Deuscher Foundry, Economy Pumps and Liberty Planers, Estate Stove Co., Ford Motor Co., General Machinery Corp., Hamilton Coke and Iron (Armco), Hamilton Foundry and Machine Co., Hamilton Tool Co., Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Co., Leshner, Mosler Safe Co., National Can Co., Shuler & Benninghofen, and Western States Machine.
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366. Aug. 23, 1995 - Hamilton paper freed tinfoil for war:
Journal-News, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 1995
Hamilton paper freed tinfoil for war
By Jim Blount
A Hamilton-made paper product substituted for material required in "one of the nation's most carefully guarded secret weapons" in World War II. Champion Paper's "research during the war years was, of necessity, directed toward developing substitutes for materials in short supply," said Reuben Robertson Sr., a company executive.
"Perhaps the most rewarding result of these efforts," he said, "was a paper substitute for the aluminum foil used to make liners for cigarette packages. This highly successful, moisture-retaining paper was put into production and eventually added up to many millions of pounds."
After testing, production of cigarette paper started in 1942 in the Hamilton mill and continued 24 hours a day, six days a week until after the war ended in 1945.
A record boxcar load of 129,254 pounds of the paper left the Hamilton mill March 23, 1944, bound for the American Tobacco Company in Durham, N. C. At 1.536 grams per paper liner, it was estimated the shipment would be enough to protect 37.2 million packs of cigarettes.
While Champion's Hamilton mill was producing the substitute liners, local school children were collecting tinfoil, or aluminum, for the war effort. What Hamilton mill workers and school children -- and smokers everywhere -- didn't know was why tinfoil was so valuable.
"Now it can be told," declared a story published Dec. 19, 1945, in a Pacific edition of Stars and Stripes, a U. S. armed forces daily.
"Those sheets of tinfoil Americans had come to take so much for granted developed into one of the nation's most carefully guarded secret weapons, speeding the war's end by many months," the newspaper revealed.
"Our scientists had discovered that ribbons of metallic foil, called 'chaff,' when dropped in bundles, gave the enemy's radarscope the impression of a great many aircraft in flight by reflecting the radar signals," Stars and Stripes explained. Chaff was first used by the British in 1940.
"Hundreds of planes and thousands of lives were saved through the use of this device," the newspaper said.
"On D-Day, tinfoil was put to its greatest test," the report said. "While the Allies crossed the channel . . . 30 aircraft scattered bits of tinsel over the channel towards Calais, luring German fighters toward a mythical armada, and then jammed the air waves to prevent them from receiving orders diverting them toward Cherbourg."
According to a World War II encyclopedia, by 1944 the aluminum chaff -- called "window" -- was carried by the lead bomber in RAF formations to jam German ground radar.
"A carefully calculated window drop pattern was developed and on D-Day RAF aircraft dropped massive clouds of this window to give the illusion of two invasion fleets farther north in the English Channel than the actual Allied ships," explained Norman Polmar and Thomas B. Allen in World War II, America at War.
Stars and Stripes said "credit for discovery of the secret weapon goes to the National Defense Research Commission. One of its first assignments was to find a successful counter-measure for radar."
"Raised to unaccustomed eminence, tinfoil ranks alongside the atomic bomb and the proximity fuse as another American scientific achievement that helped speed the greatest of all wars to a successful conclusion," noted the armed services newspaper.
The cigarette liners -- which freed tinfoil for critical military duty -- weren't the only Champion paper products which contributed to the war effort. Some other uses will be covered in this column next week.
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367. Aug. 26, 1995 - Public employees banned from Hamilton City Council: (Opinion page guest column)
guest column, Journal-News, Aug. 26, 1995
Charter commission wanted to stop nepotism, political patronage and conflicts of interest
Public employees banned from seeking Hamilton City Council seats since 1928
By Jim Blount
Should a teacher, a school crossing guard or any employee of a school district, the county, the state or the federal government be prohibited from serving on Hamilton City Council because of his or her job?
The legal answer, for more than 67 years, has been yes.
Article II, Section 002.03 of the Hamilton City Charter, effective since January 1928, says: "Members of council shall be qualified electors of the city and shall not hold any other public office, position or employment except that of notary public or member of the state militia. A member of the council, ceasing to possess any of the qualifications specified in this section, or convicted of crime while in office, shall immediately forfeit his office."
Hamilton voters approved the charter -- including that section -- in November 1926, and elected the first council under its provisions a year later.
Another generation of voters was reminded of Section 002.03 this councilmanic election season when a potential candidate -- who is employed as a school crossing guard -- said he was withdrawing from the field because of the employment restriction.
The legality of the exclusion was tested 25 years ago, and resulted in the ouster of Jack Young from Hamilton City Council.
Young, with 6,654 votes, was fifth among 20 candidates in balloting in the November 1969 election. Finishing ahead of him were Mark C. Petty, whose 8,036 votes won him the mayor's office, Richard Law, James Baxter and George Jonson, now a member of the Hamilton school board. Also elected were Gerald Suedkamp and James Beckett, who were sixth and seventh in voting.
When elected, Young was a teacher and a basketball coach at Princeton High School in Hamilton County. "I was not aware of it (Section 002.03) when I ran for council," he recalled recently. "No one mentioned it until later."
After serving on council for several months, Young returned to the Hamilton public schools as a teacher and coach at Taft High School. Previously, he had been at Garfield High School.
The job switch prompted a challenge by Mayor Petty, who filed a taxpayer's suit asking for Young's removal from council. Earlier, Petty had introduced motions in council demanding Young's resignation, but they died for lack of a second. Petty had been angered by Young's vote in favor of the hiring of Howard "Hack" Wilson as city manager, a slim 4-3 decision with the mayor among the minority.
Petty's suit cited Section 002.03, which disqualifies those who "hold any other public office, position or employment." Young's defense was based on another section (002.08, Rules of Council), which said "the council shall be the judge of the election and qualification of its members."
Dec. 10, 1970, Common Pleas Judge Fred B. Cramer granted a temporary injunction relieving Young of his council seat and preventing the city finance director from paying his council salary of $25 a month. More than two months later, Feb. 23, 1971, Judge Cramer made it a permanent injunction. Later, an appellate court backed Cramer.
The divided council didn't agree on a replacement for Young until July 14, 1971, when William E. Robinson was named to the vacancy. Robinson resigned less than six weeks later (Aug. 20) and Robert Flegal filled the seat after Sept. 9, 1971.
Why does the charter bar a crossing guard, a second grade teacher, a school nurse, a courthouse custodian, a clerk for the Ohio Department of Transportation and other public employees from serving on city council?
The answer is buried with 15 members of the charter commission elected in 1925: F. K. Vaughn, Morris G. Taylor, Ella Mae Cope, R. H. Burke, Dr. Mark Millikin, Eleanore W. Frechtling, E. B. Alston, W. R. Snead, B. W. Ramsay, Reece Pipher, C. E. Woolford, H. H. Haines, John N. Crocker, E. R. Hall and Louis Nau.
Among the commission's objectives was elimination of the political patronage and nepotism that had weakened and corrupted city government for many years. The commission also was intent on reducing the chances of conflicts of interest among city employees and council members.
Did the commission over react in writing Section 002.03? With recent concern about the scarcity of council candidates, is the public employment ban eliminating potential officeholders?
The charter could be changed, of course. An amendment would have to be written and placed on the ballot. Then Hamilton voters could decide if the employment stricture should stay or be abolished.
Meanwhile, what happened to Jack Young?
He's retired from teaching and coaching. He still attends many local sports events and has been active in church work. He's also a councilman -- but not in Hamilton. Young was appointed last year to fill an unexpired term on the Seven Mile Village Council.
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368. Aug. 30, 1995 - Waging World War II required Hamilton paper:
Journal-News, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 1995
Waging war required Hamilton paper
By Jim Blount
Diesel engines for submarines and ships and parts for guns, tanks, ships and aircraft were some of the more visible and clearly defined military products of Hamilton shops during World War II. But about 20,000 local workers also turned out dozens of other less obvious war items which contributed to the Allied victory.
One was paper. A variety of military demands and government controls required numerous adjustments to production in Champion's Hamilton mill during World War II.
April 7, 1943, Champion was declared "an essential industry." The War Manpower Commission found Champion "fulfilling contracts of government agencies directly engaged in the war effort, and that you supply materials under sub contracts for contracts directly concerned with the maintenance of indispensable civilian activities."
Earlier, company publications boosted employee morale by stressing paper's many roles in the war. For army maneuvers in 1942 in the Carolinas, 95 tons of paper went into 4.5 million maps. Every soldier in that operation received 21 maps covering the 12,000-square-mile area.
"All ration cards and instructions must be printed on paper, and there is hardly a branch of this defense wherein paper is not used wholly or in part," noted The Log, a Champion publication. "It is necessary to plotting systems, giving instructions for air raid precautions, first aid instructions, communications and records of all kinds. Bonds, tax stamps, notes, orders, correspondence, even money itself is paper required by the Treasury Department, and the chances are that the bond you buy or the revenue stamp which is canceled on the can of tobacco is made by Champion."
The 1942 article said "in this greatest of all wars in the history of mankind, there is needed for this year alone, 18 million tons of paper."
"More than 6,000 tons of paper were required during the first 90 days after D-Day to provide maps for the Allied armies of invasion," noted CHIPS, a Hamilton mill newspaper, in November 1944.
Not all Hamilton mill products were paper during the war. In October 1943, the General Machinery Corporation -- whose plant was just across the river -- observed completion of its 500th marine engine for Liberty Ships, 10,500-ton cargo vessels. The Champion machine shop, a subcontractor on the project, shared in the quiet celebration.
As the war continued, the Champion shop also machined parts for bazookas, anti-aircraft guns, drive shafts for boats, chests for ships and sight protectors for guns and small naval craft.
World War II also transformed the mill work force when more than 670 Champion men entered the armed services.
For the first time since World War I, women were accepted for positions which had been regarded as "men's work." By early 1943 there were 957 females working in all Champion plants (Hamilton; Canton, N. C., and Pasadena, Texas), not including clerical help, and 361 of these in jobs formerly done by men.
Finding enough women to fill empty places wasn't easy; the competition was intense. At the end of 1942, the U. S. Employment Service estimated Hamilton factories needed 4,253 additional workers with only 1,577 available.
High school students -- mostly children of Champion employees -- were hired to keep the Hamilton mill operating in the final years of the war.
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