The War Years

On September 1, 1939 Germany, under Hitler, invaded Poland. England and France had agreements to support Poland and joined the war. By 1940, Hitler had conquered Europe and the battle of Britain was on. On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the U. S. declared war on Japan and Germany. America’s industrial machine moved rapidly out of the Great Depression. Steel production went to capacity and beyond to supply metal for tanks, aircraft, ships, trucks and weapons. Whitacre-Greer’s participation as a supplier of clay refractory products expanded. The magnolia plant reopened to produce hot tops. Ladle brick, mold plugs and Bessemer converter tile were additional products produced. The company more than did its part supplying materials essential to the war effort and all involved could be proud of their work during the war years.

After World War II, the Magnolia plant was converted to make face brick. A monumental shortage of this product was created by the five-year moratorium on building and house construction during the war. Work began to restore the P & M plant at Malvern. As the P & M plant was about to start, the Magnolia factory burned down. JB and Art didn’t want to borrow money to finish both plants and decided to cannibalize the machinery from the P & M and rebuild Magnolia. The P & M never started again. During the rush to build houses after World War II, a severe freight shortage developed. WG presented the 1922 “cease and desist” order against discrimination to the Tuscarawas branch to the Pennsylvania Railroad. Within days, 30 cars were backed up on the Magnolia factory siding and double-shift loading crews were organized to get the brick loaded promptly.