More from the Cement News
It is May 1941. I am sitting in the kitchen reading the old Cement News. We are a nation at war, and in Pennsylvania, 12,000 people have enrolled in Pa. defense classes; some people are from our area. The State Employment Agency is referring applicants to defense training courses. The nation needs skilled workers, as the draft has taken many young men away from their jobs.
Seventy training centers are conducting 27 different types of courses. More than 800 trainees were placed in jobs this month. Blue print reading, machine tool operation, sheet metal and welding account for 68 percent of the trainees. Many are taking courses in aircraft mechanics, auto repair, electrical, drafting, molding, tool and die, and metal work. Many women would soon be operating machines, as they did at our Bethlehem Steel.
The Cement Medical Association met for a reorganization meeting at the Siegfried Hotel. The members agreed to a minimum of $2 for home visits. Yes, you read it right — $2. The new fee was established because of increased costs of medical and surgical supplies and to conform with fees of physicians in surrounding communities. Fees for all calls between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. and all emergency calls were set at $3. Quite a contrast from current medical issues!
Dr. Charles E. Meixell was elected president. His home was on Main Street in Northampton, the current Main Street Restaurant. Dr. E.S. Minner, of Egypt, has been secretary-treasurer for 20 years.
Do you remember these physicians of the past — Dr. James Weres; Dr. J.D. Heller; Dr. W.T. Fox, Coplay; Dr. C.J. Newhard, Hokendauqua; Dr. H.L. Cunin; Dr. Brong, Bath; Dr. R.B. Wilkins, Weaversville; Dr. L.H. Kline, Cementon; Dr. M.G. Miller; C.V. Spengler; Dr. R.J. Minner; Dr. C.E. Meixell; Dr. Donald Haff; Dr. M.J. Skweir; Dr. C.R. Fox; and Dr. Everett?
There were no medical centers. Most physicians had offices in their residences.
The cement companies had just agreed to an eight-cent-per-hour wage increase. In 1941, there were 29 cement mills in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Maryland. Most of the plants were in the Lehigh Valley, where 20 plants were in operation.
The Lehigh Portland Cement Company in Allentown set the pace for the various companies with granting an eight-cent increase to all production and maintenance employees. Some 10,000 workers are affected by the new contracts. The United Cement, Lime, Gypsum Workers International Union represented the employees. The base wage rate in the cement industry is now 65 cents an hour. Yes, a cement worker carried home $26 for a 40-hour workweek.
Remember Lerner’s on Main Street in Northampton? Lawn chair, $1.28; house brooms, 49 cents; window shades, 3 for $1; and awnings, $1.29.
The Ritz in Coplay featured “Western Union” with Robert Young, Randolph Scott and Dean Jagger.
A 1941 treat takes us to Hall’s Sweet Shop on Washington Avenue. Weekend specials — a coed sundae for 15 cents. Treat a friend for one cent. Your ice cream soda — 10 cents — and another for a friend for one cent.
Join me there next week. I’ll treat you to a one-cent soda!