I was reading Stephen Ambose's Band of Brothers the other day, and there was a story in there that really struck me. One of the paratroopers was hauling his reserve parachute, something usually ditched right at landing, all over Europe with him. When asked why, he said he was getting married and he wanted the silk (what parachutes were made of at the time) for his wife's wedding dress.
For some reason this struck me as odd and economically irrational. It took me a while to figure it out. I was applying my intuition to the situation based on modern price levels, where the value of the silk would be just a minor part of a wedding dress -- the larger part of the value is in the design and cutting and sewing, ie the labor. We live in a time where skilled labor is far more dear than basic materials, which are relatively cheap. The hard part of making a wedding dress would not be getting the silk, but finding someone skilled enough to manufacture the dress.
This soldier grew up in the 1930's, where exactly the opposite conditions obtained. Skilled labor was cheap. In fact, unlike today, most every household likely had someone who could sew a dress in their spare time, labor that might well be donated for free to the wedding dress cause. It was raw materials that were expensive, particularly those like silk that had to be imported at great expense from afar.