Chicopee's Role in Manufacturing & Industrializating During WWI

 Chicopee, Massachusetts Manufacturing and Their Involvement in
the War Effort

    During World War I, America had begun to take it s toll in cities to support the ongoing war and civilians that remained home. All together, Americans had taken jobs in factories that were pertaining to manufacturing and industrializing war efforts.  Closely before American entered the war in 1917, the European demands for war supplies increased allowing the American economy to have a boost. The American government established the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics before 1917, which produced air flight planes and products that encountered with aeronautics for war ("World War I, Economic Mobilization For: Information from

  Most citizens contributed to the war effort in some way.  The Selective Service Act was created for World War I.  It was passed by Congress on May 18, 1917 and it authorized Woodrow Wilson to raise a national army to fight in the modern war ( The government thought that the army would consist of around one million people. However with rapid increase, almost 5 million troops were spread out to serve in World War I. The people who did not participate in the actual battle and were left behind worked longer hours in the mills and manufacturing companies (DiCarlo, 274).  The whole country contributed to the manufacturing of goods for the war effort during World War I.  There was a need for a wide range of supplies in order to make it through the war. Since the size of the army was very large therefore more demands were made on the economy for supplies. The labor force increased tremendously and wages rose for workers. The U.S. focused on having basic raw materials for the war. These materials included steel, copper, rubber, and petroleum ( 

Chicopee Manufacturing Company  &Chicopee Falls




    In 1823 Francis Lowell and a group of other Boston financiers established Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts. It was one of the first companies that produced both textile mills and the process of spinning and weaving in one building (The Chicopee Manufacturing Company). The Chicopee Plant was one of the most well known fracturing companies out there during this time. In 1916 the Chicopee Manufacturing Company was purchased by the Johnson & Johnson Company, and began to produce surgical dressings that benefitted the war effort. The company was now known as the Chicopee Plant and also produced a constant source of surgical gauze during WWI in which was sent to help Americans fighting overseas (Yellow Book about Chicopee Manufacturing).




( Chicopee Manufacturing Co. Folder,

Chicopee Public Library. 7 May 2011.)


    In 1924 Johnson & Johnson created a new mill in Georgia that kept its name as the Chicopee Plant. The expansion of the company had begun, and also started to produce a new plastic called Lumite; a fabric created to make mosquito nets in the war effort to prevent malaria and other diseases spreading to American soldiers (Kerr).



Some of the products produced by the Chicopee Manufacturing Company in the early 1900s.

( Chicopee Manufacturing Co. Folder,

Chicopee Public Library. 7 May 2011.)









Fisk Rubber Company

     One of the main companies where people worked to help cities and the war effort was the Fisk Rubber Company.  Noyes W. Fisk of Springfield bought and organized the Fisk Rubber Company in 1898.  There were 15, 000 tires produced per day in 1916. During this time of World War I, these tires were needed for war equipment like military vehicles such as automobiles and trucks.  In  1916, the eight-hour-day was accepted following another strike.  This schedule was then eventually accepted by other Chicopee manufacturing industries.  The war effort was very large and industries had to keep up with the amount of supplies needed for the war.  Employees of Fisk Rubber company and N.E. Westinghouse Company planned to plant on a large scale (May 1917, Republican-9).  This plan was created more product for industrialization and mobilization.  Many citizens were at the Fisk Rubber Company to contribute funds to the salvation army. These were made to provide food and clothing. Chicopee was show to be the leaders in the state food production and conservation . 

 Crowd gathered at the Fisk Rubber Co. in Chicopee Falls
making donations to the Salvation Army. Large plant
buildings in background and to the right (DIGITAL TREASURES).
    This five-story building was the main production
facility of the tire company. Founded in 1896, as one
building and known as the Spalding & Pepper Rubber
Company, it grew to be one of the nation’s largest tire
making facilities (DIGITAL TREASURES).