Many World War I researchers have read about “Meatless Mondays” in the United States–an effort to conserve on meat and other commodities in order to be able to ship more food to Europe. A little known conservation of fuel was enacted on 16 January 1918 and dubbed “Heatless Mondays.”
According to the Ephraim Enterprise newspaper (Ephraim, Utah) of 4 January 1918, page 4, “the government began to tighten its control over industry and business for the purpose of furthering war efforts and protecting the public. .. in order to relieve a serious coal shortage which threatened to delay the shipment of war supplies to France, Fuel Administrator Garfield ordered a general shutdown of industry and businesses in all states east of the Mississippi River for a period of five days and ten succeeding Mondays.“
The Fort Wayne Sentinel Newspaper of 18 January 1918 explains what this meant to the public:
. Theatres and other amusement places must go fuelless on Mondays from January 21 to March 25.
. Department stores will be heatless Mondays, but buildings containing government offices, banks, doctors and dentists offices will be exempted.
. There must be washless laundries on the work days as they are deemed manufacturing plants.
. Grocery and drug stores can be heated and likewise schools.
. A select list of vital war plants are exempted. Railroads, shipping, public institutions, houses and apartments, strictly government plants but not U.S. war contract factories, public utilizies are allowed to have heart.
. Trolley service will be made to conform to holiday schedules on the workless Mondays.
. Saloons will be cold on workless Mondays.
. Papers will print as usual but on Mondays cannot run more editions than they do on legal holidays. If the paper does not issue on a holiday it may publish once on a Monday.
On 8 February 1918 the U.S. Fuel Administration’s “Heatless Mondays,” order was abandoned.
[Editor’s Note: this story is part of an on-going series about heroic New Hampshire men and women of World War I. Look here for the entire listing].