“Things to Come” (est. December 1941)
by William “Bill” Crawford (1913-1982)
19 x 22 in., ink and crayon on Glarco Illustration Board
In 1927, Babe Ruth captivated the country by swatting home runs out of ballparks. In Popular Science Monthly, with his typical prescience, Thomas Edison’s warned that the country would face a “rubber famine” in a second world war since America’s enemies would cut off supplies. “Lacking rubber, we would have to revert to balls stuffed with feathers or cork.”
The Japanese did cut off rubber supplies after seizing critical parts of SE Asia at the onset of World War II.
Indeed, four days after the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States banned the use of crude rubber in any items deemed non-essential to the war effort—including baseballs and other sports equipment.
This cartoon might well relate to this time. Crawford was a sports cartoonist for a pair of Washington DC newspapers from 1934-38, before moving to the Newark News as its editorial cartoonist.