By the mid 1930s many households used town gas or coal gas to heat their houses, cook their food and produce hot water. To make this gas large quantities of coal were brought into municipal gas works and refined to extract the gas, which was then stored in large gas holders on purpose built sites at the edge of town. This process required huge quantities of coal and this was brought in by rail, before the coke byproduct was taken away again. All this coal and rail capacity was needed for other more vital war work, so the government urged people to reduce their consumption wherever possible. This envelope has been pre-printed with such as message:The red stamp says ‘Gas is on Munitions, Use it sparingly’ with a stylized gas holder and production plant:The character in the centre seems to have been one created by the Ministry of Supply to encourage people to save gas as it appears on a number of posters as well:The need to save gas was clear even before war began, and the following advice was published in the Daily Telegraph on September 7th 1939:
The order restricting the use of electricity and gas to 75 per of the usual consumption comes into force today. Housewives should find it quite easy to adapt their households to the new requirements without hardship…
How to save gas
The Gas Light and Coke Co suggest the following ways of reducing gas consumption simply and satisfactorily.
- Never leave a burner alight when not in use; never allow flames to show outside the sides of the pan.
- Use a small burner instead of a large one unless speed is necessary.
- When using a griller put something on top at the same time.
- Have a steamer with two or more compartments: you can then cook several dishes, possibly a whole meal, on one gas ring.
- Keep the lid on your pans: the contents will cook more quickly. When the pan comes to the boil turn the burner down.
- Never heat more liquid than you need. Remember this when you fill the kettle as you use gas unnecessarily. Do not keep the kettle on the boil.
- When you use the oven try to put a complete meal into it at once. Turn flame out as soon as the dinner is cooked: the food will keep hot for some time. Casserole dishes are economical.
- When cooking, put a bowl of water in the oven at the same time. This will give you hot water for washing up.
- Never wash up, or your hands, under a running tap.
- The less crockery you use, the less water you will need for washing up.
- Be careful when you take your bath to keep it shallow.