Wartime bicycles came in handy

Thismonth0803_smMARCH 2008 –The March 1942 issue of Real Estate magazine included a photo of Swan-Lorish Realty’s new fleet of bicycles. The Chicago firm’s maintenance men and building inspectors would be able to pedal to properties within a mile of one of their five offices.

Later that year gasoline rationing was imposed across the country. A March 1943 article in the National Real Estate Journal offered tips for real estate offices facing shortages of gasoline. Alex Mann of Reading, Pennsylvania, wrote “Salesmen can’t just jump into a car and take any and every prospect for a home purchase to every possible location.” William P. Zinn of Columbus, Ohio, said “We constantly urge our salesmen to reduce the number of rides by the simple procedure of completely qualifying each and every prospect, and by possessing complete information with reference to each and every property.” A. H. Ryon of Schenectady, New York, commented “We have asked prospective purchasers to meet us at a given property in their own cars, feeling that if they are not interested enough to use their own gasoline they are probably poor prospects.”

Rubber was rationed even before gasoline. The Japanese seized lands in the Dutch East Indies which had produced 90% of America’s raw rubber. REALTORS® and their fellow Americans patched and repatched their tires until the end of the war.