The History of
Hodges Badge Company
Hodges Anticipates the Shortage of Supplies!
As we entered the 1940’s, the effects of World War II made it increasingly hard for companies such as Hodges to get supplies, as existing factories were fitted to produce goods to support the war effort. The years of expansion and bliss soon faded for the Hodges family as well.
Frederick was worried that supplies were going to be limited so he talked to William, his father, and convinced him to buy extra raw materials to keep in storage. William was so proud and excited that Frederick had anticipated the shortage of supplies and in turn ordered several bolts of uncut cloth for ribbon. This was the first time Hodges started to keep inventory versus just ordering what was needed to handle the orders in hand.
At the start of the war, printing leaf (actually thin sheets of real gold) was manufactured in Germany. After the outbreak of the war, Frederick wisely switched from a German gold leaf supplier to a Japanese supplier. All went well until December 7, 1941, when access to Japanese gold leaf was shut off and Hodges again was in search of a new supplier. They found a New Jersey company called Peerless Roll Leaf. They had a new printing press which printed using a new kind of foil that came in rolls, not sheets. Hodges bought a press and a supply of leaf in January 1942, enabling the continuation of business until the end of the war.
Following the war, Frederick and William expanded the business and it was soon doing better than it had before the war. Increased sales called for new equipment but there was no return to gold leaf stamping with real gold. Peerless was improving the bronze leaf, which came in 200-foot rolls on a cellophane carrier. It speeded the printing process by a factor of 10 and eliminated the need for the very slow hand sizing of ribbon. Hodges soon acquired a second roll leaf press, new foot operated eyeleters, and additional sewing machines.
Following the success of the business after the war, the Hodges family also decided that it was time to revamp the logo for the company. A new logo was created to be used on all printed aspects for the company.
United States in the 1940's:
- A new house cost $3,920.
- Mount Rushmore sculpture and Pentagon building is completed.
- Japan launches a surprise attack on the U.S. base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, bringing the United States into the War. Italy and Germany declare war on the United States.
- The draft age in the United States is lowered from 21 to 18.
- The famous and well-regarded film "Casablanca" premieres in New York City during the month of November.
- President Roosevelt is elected to a fourth term in the United States, becoming the only person to ever do so. His fourth term does not last long however, as he died during the next year in April of 1945.
- World War II ends as Allied and Soviet forces make their way towards Germany, liberating concentration camps along the way.
- The United States drops two atomic bombs on Japan, bringing an end to the Pacific side of the war.
- Department stores begin to sell Tupperware food containers.
- The Polaroid instant camera is demonstrated.
- George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, creates Velcro but it is not formally patented until 1955.
- NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is established.
- 45 RPM records are introduced.
Hodges Badge Company’s new logo.
At top, a sash that Hodges Badge Company produced and was featured in the local paper.
Shown above, a ribbon with a badge that we produced in 1949.