Did You Know?
by Ken Carr
DID YOU KNOW...
...the big swimming pool at Old River Park wasn’t the first NCR pool for employees? In the summer of 1915, a wading pool was opened not only for the use of NCR kids but for the neighborhood kids as well. The pool was circular in shape and about 100 feet across. It appears that the depth ranged from about 6 inches around the edge and reached about two feet deep in the center. In the center of the pool, built of large rocks, was a four feet high dome with a small water fountain in the middle of the dome. The pool was located on land which 24 years later in 1939 was to become Old River Park. A picture accompanying the article in the August, 1915 NCR News shows the location as north of the current tennis courts and east of the site of the 1939 Old River swimming pool. The article praises the wading pool as another example of the Company’s effort to expand the benefits provided to its employees.
Nearly all of you are familiar with the code breaking project (the bombe) that took place at NCR during the Second World War. That project, which was ranked second in national security importance right behind the Atomic Bomb development at Oak Ridge, TN, was later to become the most publicized NCR war effort. But did you know NCR was involved in a number of projects and programs during that time as all commercial production of cash registers and accounting machines gave way to “war work”. The Company manufactured large bore shells, carburetors for the B-24 Liberator and the Martin B-26 Marauder as well the Boeing B-29 Super Fortress. Bomb sights, rocket motors, bomb fuses, and magazines for anti-aircraft guns were also assembled.
One of the more successful programs initiated by NCR, “Retailers for Victory”, was the printing of stickers that were to be put on cash registers. The stickers, which were distributed to retailers around the country, urged customers to support the war effort by accepting their change in Defense Stamps. Acceptance by customers and merchants alike made the program successful beyond expectations. Accompanying the sticker program, the Company printed 13,000 booklets a month and distributed them to major retailers nationwide. The booklets included means and methods for promoting the sale of Defense Stamps and War Bonds through the retail stores. It was another successful program.
NCR hosted the crew of the famous B-17, Memphis Bell, during their nationwide “Buy War Bonds” tour. The crew offered high praise when they referred to the NCR employees as their “team mates” in the war effort. The Navy “E” award was given by the federal government to companies who were deemed to have gone above and beyond the call of duty during the war. Only 4 percent of the nation’s companies were so honored. NCR is believed to have received the first Navy “E” award in Dayton and by the end of the war the Company had been awarded the “E” five times. No other company in the United States received more Navy “E” awards.
With the 48 hour work week and with the shops, offices and banks closed in the evening and on Sunday, employees found it difficult to take care of everyday family business. Therefore, NCR began to offer personal services. For instance, employees could pay light, gas and telephone bills at the local Credit Union office. Gas and tire ration requirements for the employees were handled by the Company. Auto and driver licenses could be obtained as well as the transfer of automobile titles. Employees could ask for and receive help with filling out income tax forms and having person/legal papers notarized. These were all first for the Company.
NCR was one of the trial sites for the city wide air raid system and was one of the 25 locations around the city of Dayton with a permanent siren site.
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