Just nine months after America’s entrance into the Great War, the nation experienced one of the greatest domestic crises it would encounter during the 20 months of hostilities.  The winter of 1917-1918 was the coldest on record, and resulted in skyrocketing demand, and subsequent severe shortage of coal. Consumed in large quantities for domestic heating, railroad fuel, and gas lighting, coal was also the heat source for smelting iron ore used in the production of steel, which was in high demand for the construction of both merchant and naval vessels. In response to the burgeoning crisis, President Wilson created the United States Fuel Administration, which was charged with the task of restricting fuel consumption by civilians and industries that did not contribute to the war effort, and promoting Americans’ voluntary conservation of fuel.