the first four months of 1918 platinum metals were sold in open market,
but consumption in unessential industries had been voluntarily
restricted, the largest consumption being in the expansion of plants
for the production of sulphuric acid and the fixation of nitrogen. Even
with the lessened use of platinum by the jewelers it became evident
that there would be a shortage of platinum metals for war purposes if
more drastic means of control were not employed.
February 23,1918, the stocks of the larger producers of platinum were
requisitioned by the Ordnance Department in order that there should be
no uncertainty as to the supplies of platinum for certain military
purposes. As the quantity of platinum made available to the Government
by this requisition did not appear sufficient, a second requisition,
which covered the stocks of 947 producers and consumers, was issued on
May 1, and this was followed on July 1 by a third requisition, which
covered the stocks of 1,555 producers and consumers.
the terms of the requisitions it was possible for the Government to
know definitely what platinum metals were available and so to allocate
the supply that it would be used most effectively. The requisition
orders were made by the Ordnance Department but were administered by
the platinum section of the War Industries Board. Much credit is due to
the members of this section for the way in which they dealt with a
delicate situation and for their efforts to promote the conservation of
powers were given to the platinum section under the explosives act in
the promulgation on August 17, 1918, of " Rules and regulations under
the act of October 6, 1917 (40 Stat., 385), as amended by the act of
July 1, 1918 (Public, No. 181), limiting the sale, possession, and use
of platinum, iridium, and palladium and compounds thereof."
the signing of the armistice the need for strict regulation passed, and
on November 14 the "Rules and regulations" were revoked by the
Secretary of the Interior. The requisition orders were likewise
canceled December 1, 1918, though a certain measure of control of the
market was still possible through the regulation of imports and exports
by the War Trade Board.