The Cost of Living - 1938 in the US

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PaulJSmith

#4
Would be curious to know how these 1938 costs relative to the reported income compares to current figures. Anyone have that?
 

Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
Paul is correct, the wages at the time were reflective, plus there were not some of the same credit institutions and credit cards. There are many things we take for granted now that may not have been there then. For example, some rural locations did not even get electricity until the mid-1930s.

Still, the list provides a good snapshot into history and a good starting point to investigate the culture of the day.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
My memory of the 40s and even 50s is that institutional credit (banks, savings & loans) was VERY hard to come by. Credit cards hadn't been invented and many retailers provided charge accounts to regular customers whom they knew personally. If I went to the corner grocery (no massive super markets then) for my mom in 1948 or 1949, the owner and/or his clerks knew me by name and would take the note, fill the order, and carry the bag out to my little red wagon with the amount balance on mom's charge written in pencil on the bag - no cash register receipts then, either. I don't recall buying milk at the store, either. We had a milkman who delivered one or two quart bottles every day (based on the note mom left in the washed out empties on the porch.) Sometimes, if mom was cooking or baking something special, she also got a pint of cream. I remember when the milk was not homogenized and the cream would float on top of the bottle. Mom poured the milk into a pitcher and stirred it before each serving.

I remember what a big deal it was when we got a gas refrigerator (Servel brand) and no longer had ice man deliveries. Some neighbors had electric refrigerators, but it was universally acknowledged in our circle that gas was quieter and much less expensive than electric to operate. I think it helped that the gas company subsidized the cost of gas refrigerators, just as the electric company supplied free light bulbs - exchange burned out for new when paying the bill in cash at the local utility company office.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#8
Well, I posted this as "history". I wasn't trying to make a point about anything. I watch a lot of old movies (and I have a lot from the turn of the century (1900) - Videos like old Edison flicks). One of the things I like is seeing things like old technology (e.g.: telephone switchboards of the time, or as Wes mentioned, gas refrigerators), not to mention things like movies with places like LA or New York years ago with so little traffic. I like history. Old movies and posters like this are interesting to me.

Good Lord - I remember Vegas in the early days. My, how times change... I used to love Vegas, not to mention so many other places like Santa Cruz, CA and " 'Frisco". These days - Not so much.
 

Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Staff member
Super Moderator
#9
Marc, you may not have intended much, but if it brings out remembrances, facts, and questions, may I respectfully submit it is a good thing!

I truly hope our younger members investigate and learn. They may be surprised to learn what their elders went through - good, bad, indifferent - to provide for them.

I believe this post may well bring an awareness we may otherwise not have seen, at least, I hope so.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#10
Like I say - I am into history. May sound funny, but I can (and do) record from my OTA HD TV aerial and regularly record old episodes of "Daniel Boone" episodes and love to watch an episode when I have time. It was a period in colonial expansion that I think a lot of people "see" as "the good old days". "Self sufficiency" and all that. Disney did a good job with that series with respect to authenticity. Yet - That was years ago. It's not the reality today. And - It was "hard times', comparatively, considering things like "baths once a week, if all goes well".

I grew up just up the road from Wikipedia reference-linkMary_Draper_Ingles Highway (Route 8 in KY) so I was brought up with her history.

Tracey - My girl friend of about 9 years now - and I watch a lot of history videos, especially BBC videos. Typically during the week we watch Daily Show, Colbert and then a movie in the evenings. Saturday and Sunday are reserved for historical stuff. We recently watched a good BBC series on the history of steam engines, and another on canals. And another on the history of London's sewer system(s). And another one on the history of commodes!

History - I can't get enough.

History - I LOVE it! That is probably why my second minor in college, chemistry being #1, was anthropology.
 
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