War Ration Lesson and Why 1940s Blackboards Are Not Green

The process of colorizing historical photographs requires a great deal of research to get right! Sometimes, viewers point out historical inaccuracies in color choices that need correction and help us learn.

This original black and white photograph comes courtesy of the Public Domain and the U.S. National Archives. The attached captions says:

“War Ration Lesson (1943): Facts the younger generation of marketers should know are taught this class in the Murch Elementary School, Washington, D.C. Catherine M. Rooney, 6th grade teacher instructs her alert pupils on the way and how of War Ration Book Two.”

It has been beautifully colorized with rich, true to life colors by Okkama Colorizations, now providing services exclusively at The Psychogenealogist.

The first colorization of this photograph (see second photo above) included a very pleasing to the eye soft green chalkboard, the kind that I and the artist, being of a certain age, remember from our youths.

If I am being honest, I actually like the green chalkboard better.

The problem is, green chalkboards weren't introduce until the 1960s, well after this 1943 photo. According to this wonderful article by Marissa Laliberte about the history of chalkboards:

“The color change came in the 1960s when companies sold steel plates coated with green porcelain-based enamel instead of the traditional dark slate. The new material was lighter and less fragile than the first blackboards, so they were cheaper to ship and more likely to survive the journey. Teachers weren’t complaining either. After all, the new “greenboards” made the chalk powder easier to erase fully. Plus, the enamel left less of a glare and the color was nicer to look at.”

So, consider yourself informed!

We would love to hear what you think! Here are the two photos side by side:

Fans of The Psychogenealogist Facebook Page voted for this photo to be colorized in Poll #5. Stay tuned for future polls!

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