The Prices Grandpa Paid

What a dollar would buy in 1900. This bill for various household goods comes from the records of Allen Vance’s brother Will.

Pegs                            .10
Lamp burner            .12
Knives & forks        1.50
Platter                       .60
Polish                         .08
2 pails                         .34
Dustpan                     .08
Coffee                        .15
Dipper & masher     .15
Dishpan                     .18
2 milk                        .16
Kettle                        .50
Basin                         .20
Total                     $4.16

I found this information Will’s grandson Ross’s thesis, Pioneer Farming, March 1976. According to Great-uncle Will, a working man at that time would be earning 50¢ to $1 a day.

About Christine Goodnough

I'm a wife, mom & grandma, homemaker, avid reader, blogger, and nature lover enjoying country living. I write short stories, poems, and share life experiences, adding a dash of humor whenever I can.
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2 Responses to The Prices Grandpa Paid

  1. I just googled it and read an article from Collector’s Weekly. Apparently the term “milk glass” was coined in the 1900s and it sounds like “milk glass” back then was a luxury for well-to-do American households. I’m not sure it would have been stocked in remote prairie stores circa 1900.

    If it was actually raw milk (and remember, farmer’s wives traded a lot of farm produce in exchange for their household needs) it likely was a small cream can full or gallon jug or something like that.

  2. I wonder if the “2 milk for .18” was for fresh milk. Maybe they didn’t have their own cow or couldn’t get milk from a neighbor. The only other food was coffee. another thought is that perhaps this was glassware as there is a vintage glass called “milkware”. maybe they bought 2 matching cups and saucers and it just shows up on the bill as “milk”.

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