I was born in an a time changing year that year was 1969.
5 years from Equal Rights.
30 years from the Great Depression
25 years from the end of WWII
My Grand Mother saw all of it including WWI.
I was a direct result of these times. These times are forgot and replaced with internet and smart phones.
The zip code I lived in Philadelphia was my families zip code for at least 150 years. My Family never left that zip code until the grandchildren moved on.
My father is a child of possibly and illegal alien which may make him an anchor baby. I honestly do not know where my Grand Mother came from Cuba, Italy, or Spain. My Grand Father was a Grocery Store Owner who was a Mafia Moonshiner to make it in America.
My Grand Father was tough as nails. My Grand Father was dying of a pain kidney disease 1936. My Father claimed he would take a bottle of an opioid pain killers, and pint a brandy to kick-start the day. Remember drugs were sold with out prescriptions until 1938.
Yeah Grand Dad dropped died October 31, 1939. That life will get you every time.
The area we lived in Philly was Frankford. Frankford is very rough now the zip is 19124. I am certain and positive you can still find anything you want in that zip code. 19124 has some house that are 400 years old some of the oldest structures in the USA.
For a need to eat, Depression, and War Efforts scraping was a way of life.
Everything was saved or used to make money. The scrappiers always had a pot of some sort of melt burning to save room would pour into ingots.
Brass, Cooper, and Lead all melt at low temps. So these scrapers when I was a kid started in the 30’s. Think about this zero EPA lead into the air. Silver and gold coins purified with mercury. All of these things where secrets of the trade.
You ask how did the scrappier make or sell his stuff. There was a war going on. Down the street was the Frankford Arsenal. A scrappier would sell to the Government in silver and pay customers in paper.