The history of the Women Ordnance Workers insignia
“In 1942, Westinghouse Company’s War Production Coordinating Committee created a series of posters to encourage support for the war effort. One of these posters became the ‘We Can Do It’ poster. This image was based on a United Press International wire service photograph taken of Ann Arbor, Michigan, factory worker Geraldine Hoff who worked as a metal-stamping machine operator. In later years, this image would be associated with the Rosie the Riveter legend, however this image only appeared for a few weeks to Westinghouse employees in the Midwest in 1943. An Ordnance Department Women Ordnance Worker (WOW) bandana is clearly visible on her head. This image has largely replaced the Norman Rockwell’s image of Rosie the Riveter. . . .
The “Rosie the Riveter” movement is credited with helping push the number of working women to 20,000,000 during four years of war, a 57 percent jump from 1940. About 300,000 women were employed in War Department activities in November 1943. The WOW bandanna became a well-known symbol of the 85,000 women who worked directly for the Ordnance Department. . . .
From an advertisement in the July-August 1943 issue of Army Ordnance:
“… and she wears the WOW bandanna. Water Repellent. Washable. Dust Proof. The “WOW” Bandanna, designed in accordance with U.S. Army specification, is an attractive, safe, and unifying head covering to identify Women Ordnance Workers. About 27″ square, it is available either in Ordnance red with white Ordnance insignia, or in white with red Ordnance insignia. Every woman in your plant will want one–it’s a “WOW” for morale! $3.75 per dozen, net F.O.B., New York. Manufactured under authorization from the Army Ordnance Department. We invite your inquiry. BRIAN FABRICS CORPORATION, 1441 BROADWAY, NEW YORK CITY.”
- From the famous 1942 propoganda poster by Adolph Treidler that encouraged women to take up jobs during WWII. Read more about the design below
- The sticker is printed in the US on thick, durable vinyl with a UV laminate that protects it from scratching, rain, and sunlight
- Size: 2.19″ x 3″
View or World War II products here.
Learn more history about W.O.W. and Rosie the Riveter here.