To 78-L...I think this is a discussion we should join!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Art Shifrin" <[log in to unmask]>
> Based on housing prices here in NYC, a late 30's early 40's record buyer
> top line merchandise paid disproportionately much more than we do now.
> house was built in 1940. Absurdly, resale value of houses here in Fresh
> Meadows are now 70 times that of when they were sold new. Taking that
> factor, a two sided 10" 75 cent disk sold for $52.50 in 2004 US funny
> A Victor Red Seal of Dvorak's "New Work Symphony" was $10: $700 in current
> dollars. Compare that to CD prices, which are widespreadly,
> regarded as 'expensive'. That'd pro-rate a 16 song compilation to $420!
> A much less extreme comparitive (and less localized) basis is first class
> domestic mail: 3 cents in 1940, 37 cents now. That's a factor of 12.3:
> 'only' $9.25 for a two sided 7 minute 10" 75 cent 78 & $123 for that
> album. The 16 track compilation cited above would cost 'only' $111!
> I acknowledge that a formula for comparing currency values between 1940
> now can be highly debatable, but these two examples at least, have
> comparable inherent value. The house is the same size as it was in 1940.
> It has new windows, siding and central air conditioning but it's
> the same as it was in 1940. Similarly, the comparison of 3 & 37 cent
> class mail fees are analagous for the services they buy.
> So I assume that the REAL inflation factor is somewhere between 12 and 70,
> and that means that even budget 78s at the time the film was made were
> A more extreme example of their early cost is the first Red Seal Sextette
> >From Lucia, when was that, 1906? What was the weekly take home pay of
> average working schnook then?
> And these examples don't factor the considerations that what's being sold
> has far greater intrincsic value: the media don't deteriorate with each
> and have much better clarity.
For my answer, I'll reply to paragraph 4:
"What was the weekly take home pay..."
Well, the answer would be $1/day...regardless of the length of the day.
When Leeds & Catlin launched the Imperial label, they announced it as
"our new low cost record" since the price (for a single selection) had
dropped to 60 cents. Prior to the 1920 introduction of Regal (and Pathe's
immediate reply of Perfect), 10" popular 78's cost from 75 cents to $1.00.
These labels brought the price down to 50 cents. During the twenties,
Sears sold Silvertone (and its other array of labels) for prices in the
area of twenty cents...but a black-label Victor still cost 75 cents.
Even if we take Henry Ford's munificent wage of $5 a day as our standard,
our peasant "hero" is making about 50 cents an our...or enough to buy
2.5 Challenge records, or 2/3 of a Victor! This was, of course, better
than the previous generation...who had earned $1/day (the standard wage
c. 1900) and had to pay most or all of that for a single-sided disc!
Now, in 1966 an LP, with ten to twelve songs, cost you about $3.98
(less on Camden or Harmony, which were fairly new then)! But...in 1966
I was working in a unionized plant, and making $3.30/hour...which I
thought was incredible! In fact, in 1962 I had left a suit-and-tie
salaried position as "Health Insurance Underwriter" which paid me
Today, the minimum wage in Ontario was bumped up (finally) from
$6.85/hour to $7.00 (I think). Figure on that basis...