Events that shaped us 

Hughes Telephone
1117 Blackhawk Rd
Rock Island, IL 61201

ASAP Equipment
4730 44 St

Taylor Garages
Airport Rd
Milan, IL 61264

Michael Warner, Attorney
1600 4th Ave, Suite 410
Rock Island, IL 61201

Kansas City Life
5019 34 Ave B
Moline, IL 61265

Dr. Romeo
1705 2nd Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Morton Building
Highway 6
Atkinson, IL

Pathway Hospice
500 42
Rock Island, IL 61201

QC Carbide
1510 17 St
East Moline, IL 61244

Lyss Chiropractic
5500 30 Ave
Moline, IL 61201

Metro MRI
550 15 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Litton Life Support
2734 Hickory Grove Rd
PO Box 4508
Davenport, IA 52808

Spencer Bros. Disposal
New Windsor, IL

Mane Designs
Viola, IL

Quad-Cities Graduate Studies Center
639 38 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Taylor Freezers 1885 Earhart Dr
Sandwich IL 60548

Milan Surplus
I-280 Exit 15
Milan, IL 61264

Metro MRI
550 15 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home Inc.
614 Main St
Davenport, 52803

Ward Chiropractic
1802 W Locust St
Davenport, IA 52804

Cannon Precision Manufacturing
PO Box 289
4th and Washington St
Keithsburg, IL 61442

Arsenal aided many contractors

By Rita Pearson, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

``We must provide (the Allies) with clouds of airplanes, with acres of tanks and with an avalanche of munitions,'' U.S. House Appropriations Committee chairman Clarence Cannon, D-Mo., declared in September 1941.

His comments set the tone for an American war effort already underway among government and private industry that would lead to a post-war boom unprecedented since the Industrial Revolution.

In the Quad-Cities, the Rock Island Arsenal played a major role in mobilizing American industry for war.

The Arsenal tutored private contractors on manufacturing methods and, in fact, did everything short of setting up those contractors in business, according to a history of the Army, Armament, Munitions and Chemical Command published in 1992.

Private companies obtained technical drawings and machine-tool requirements and borrowed gauges, surplus machines and tooling equipment.

By the time President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act on March 11, 1941, he opened the way to sell, lease or lend arms, munitions, food and other defense items to any country whose defense was vital to the United States.

To meet the demand, the Rock Island Arsenal became the world's largest ordnance storehouse -- 18 acres under one roof with enough space for 17 football fields.

Two months before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the RIA began making the Army's new air-cooled, 30-caliber Browning machine gun.

The Arsenal's efforts later earned it the coveted Army-Navy ``E'' pennant for excellence in war production.

A host of Quad-Cities area manufacturers also earned the coveted award. Each foundry, machine shop or manufacturer had taken on much government work, based on its expertise, for the war effort.

As the war progressed, International Harvester and Deere & Co. workers formed Ordnance Maintenance Battalions to keep the Army's tanks, armored vehicles, field artillery and other weapons serviced and running.

During the first part of the war, the former International Harvester plant in East Moline started making brackets and supports for gun mounts used aboard troop ships.

Then, after IH acquired the former Bettendorf plant, it started making tanks under government contract.

The East Moline plant made parts for the tanks, according to John Minnick of Rock Island, a lend-lease specialist who packaged equipment parts in government-inspected containers for destinations worldwide.

Mr. Minnick oversaw shipments of equipment parts to farmers and equipment dealers, and war parts and machines made under government contracts to U.S. troops and allies.

U.S. manufacturers were making tanks, airplanes, airplane parts and other equipment long before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and shortages of raw materials, he said.

Roller chains and roller bearings used on combines and threshers were among parts in short supply, Mr. Minnick said.

Deere was on the threshold of its biggest farm-machinery production and sales year in its 104-year-history in the spring of 1941 when war clouds hung heavily over the nation and our ally, Great Britain, needed tanks quickly.

By March 1941, Deere was the prime contractor making transmissions for the M-3 ``General Grant'' medium tank. The work was done in Deere's Waterloo plants. Deere delivered its first transmission in October.

Deere's tank transmission contract was the company's first and largest single contract of 1,098 contracts it had with the government over three years. Workers produced 22,000 tank transmissions, spare parts and made repairs.

Like the rest of American industry, Deere converted its factories into making war parts, ammunition and war machines, even while it continued to make farm equipment within the limitations the government set.

The conversion centralized Deere's organizational structure and swelled its normal employment of 9,000 workers to a peak force of 17,243 in 1944.

The war effort also had an impact on Deere's production techniques. The John Deere Harvester Works Foundry started making magnesium castings instead of gray-iron castings. Deere's gray-iron foundry at Waterloo started making steel castings for power trains, the track shoes used by various manufacturers of tank tracks.

Throughout the war era, Deere's policy was to make the most with existing resources, squeezing and doubling up when necessary, and getting the maximum out of the materials, manpower, and available space and equipment.

The company later earned several ``E'' awards from the Army and Navy for excellence in quality production.

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.