A blue eagle logo created by the US government in 1933 urged consumers to spend money only where companies displayed the NRA symbol on shop windows, packages and advertising.

The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was one of a constellation of federal agencies that made up President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program to help Americans recover from the Great Depression.

The NRA Logo of the National Industrial Recovery Act (1933)

Estab­lished in 1933 in an effort to spur indus­tri­al recov­ery, the NRA sought to use gov­ern­ment pow­er to restrain com­pe­ti­tion and end the down­ward cycle of wage cuts and price reduc­tions, with­out abol­ish­ing the free market.

The NRA was cre­at­ed by The Nation­al Indus­tri­al Recov­ery Act of 1933 (NIRA), passed by the US Con­gress, autho­rized the Pres­i­dent to reg­u­late indus­try for fair wages and prices that would stim­u­late eco­nom­ic recovery.

The NIRA, which cre­at­ed the NRA, declared that codes of fair com­pe­ti­tion should be devel­oped through pub­lic hear­ings, and gave the Admin­is­tra­tion the pow­er to devel­op vol­un­tary agree­ments with indus­tries regard­ing work hours, pay rates, and price fix­ing. The NRA was put into oper­a­tion by an exec­u­tive order, signed the same day as the pas­sage of the NIRA.

The Admin­is­tra­tion asked busi­ness­es, labor, and con­sumers to help write new codes for hour lim­its, min­i­mum wages, and pro­duc­tion stan­dards. To encour­age vol­un­tary adop­tion of these new codes, par­tic­i­pat­ing busi­ness­es were allowed to dis­play a blue eagle logo, and con­sumers were urged to spend mon­ey only where the sym­bol was dis­played on shop win­dows, pack­ages and advertising.

Busi­ness­es that sup­port­ed the NRA did not always go along with the reg­u­la­tions entailed. Though mem­ber­ship to the NRA was vol­un­tary, busi­ness­es that did not dis­play the eagle were very often boy­cotted, mak­ing it seem manda­to­ry for sur­vival to many.

In 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court unan­i­mous­ly declared that the NRA law was uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, rul­ing that it infringed the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers under the Unit­ed States Constitution.

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Can you spot the NRA logo in these adver­tise­ments pub­lished in Pop­u­lar Mechan­ics, Novem­ber, 1933?

Charles Atlas, the “World’s Strongest Man” was a fre­quent adver­tis­er in Pop­u­lar Mechan­ics. The NRA logo was­n’t includ­ed in his adver­tise­ments. Read about him in this post