Looking back at Picatinny: World War II coveralls
December 31, 2008
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - Looking at the accompanying photos, you might think this column is about big bombs, or, second guess, the men loading and stenciling them.
But, no. This issue's subject is coveralls. The impetus for treating this subject was a request from a World War II museum in Arkansas which an alert reader of Picatinny's Web site relayed to this newspaper.
The area had an ammunition loading plant during World War II, and the museum wishes to exhibit the type of clothing explosive workers wore to lessen the danger of electrostatic discharge. So, this column is asking if any readers have such garments among their keepsakes or family heirlooms.
If so, please contact The Voice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know it is a long shot to expect fabric to last 50 years, but the clothes were for heavy-duty use. And, it never hurts to ask. A study of other photos indicates Picatinny issued these garments only to those people working directly with explosives.
However, this does not mean other people did not need them. Women in drafting took pride in dressing well despite the arsenal's failure to provide either a coverall or even an apron.
One such employee remembers a co-worker who started the day with a white blouse and found she had a black one at the end of her shift. It seems the arsenal issued clothing only to protect workers, not their wardrobes.