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1932 Wholesalers Price Guide from gas caps, batteries, wrenches, spark plugs cheap now expensive then during the Depression


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My grandfather worked for 10 cents an hour in 1932 so these would be pretty pricey parts for him to buy.

 

 
 
RARE 1932 dated, 8x11", 32-pg. wholesale auto parts catalogue, aka "The Automotive Dealers' Purchasing Guide", from The Scott-Adams Co., 2113-15 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, Ill. is a soup-to-nuts pulp newsprint variety catalogue chock-full of vintage auto parts for antique cars ranging from: the Auburn to the Essex to the Graham-Paige to the Hudson to the Hupmobile to the Marquette to the Nash to the Oakland to the Reo to the Studebaker to the Whippet to the Willys-Knight to the Willys. In overall very good originally tri-folded condition, the paper has yellowed with age.
 
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Edited by Mark Gregory (see edit history)
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I've collected early automobile supply catalogs for a long time.  My cut-off is the end of WWI, although I do have a few well illustrated later catalogs in my collection.  I have over 100, the earliest dates to 1903. I began looking for them to help identify and date (approximately) some of the spark plugs and other early odd accessories that I collect.  They are amazing and I often think what it would have been like back in that time-frame to go shopping for goodies for those early cars.

Dykes 1903.jpg

Everyting 2, 1915.jpg

IMG_20150510_0004.jpg

Charles Miller early catalog.jpg

BiMotor catalog 1910.jpg

Chas E. Miller 1910.jpg

Auto Economy Company 1909.jpg

T Forum Savage Auto Co.jpg

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10 hours ago, Mark Gregory said:

My grandfather worked for .10 cents an hour in 1932...

 

That's interesting, Mark, and thank you for sharing your find.

Does anyone have statistics as to what wages and salaries

were, around 1932, across a wide range of occupations and ages?

For example, what did a middle-aged mechanic earn?

Or a mechanical engineer with 20 years' experience?

Or a vice president of a large manufacturing company?

 

One small point:  Your grandfather may have worked for

10 cents an hour, but not .10 cents (one tenth of a cent) per hour.

The decimal would be used only if you were quoting in dollars,

as $0.10 (one tenth of a dollar).  Just for historical accuracy's sake,

especially for our readers from other countries.

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My Dad would have been 100 years old this year. So he would have been 11 or 12 in 1932. I know he worked for (and was raised by) my great grandfather. He told me stories about old Tom paying him and the other younger guys $0.30 from his charge purse at the end of the day. It would get him into the movies and some. But he was a pretty young kid.

 

Here is a picture of one of the younger guys who worked for old Tom Daily who is still going.

023ww.thumb.jpg.a7f463d04b5c344379c79bd690d50958.jpg

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WOW! As someone that has Model A Fords it is a great read. Model A horn's at $.90 that now cost about $200. Spindle bolt sets were $1.05 now around $100 and 3X spark plugs that were $.38 are now around $50 each. As George mentions, I would also love a copy.

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Using the CPI inflation calculator lists the above Model A Ford items in 46 woodies post.

 

Model A horn at $.90 = to $16.38 "in today’s dollars.” Actual cost to buy reproduction. $279. (Snyder’s)

Spindle bolt sets $1.05 = to $19.11 “in today’s dollars." Actual cost to buy reproduction. $82.   (Snyder’s)

3X spark plugs at $.38 = to $6.92  “in today’s dollars”  Actual cost to buy reproduction. $37. (Snyder’s)

Interesting to note that the 3X spark plugs are nearly 100 times the 1932 cost of $.38.

 

Somewhere there is huge disconnect in the actual cost to purchase these items vs the inflation calculator. What are we missing here? I have noted this before. Somehow the prices do not fit the inflation calculator model. Even if one uses $600. assuming average cost of a brand new Model A, this calculates to $10,920. Where can one buy a new vehicle for that today?

 

https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

 

 

 

 

Edited by AzBob (see edit history)
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Great to see those. Thanks for posting them, Guys.

 

My dad (born 1910) told me that during the depression he couldn't afford to go to a mechanic so he learned to fix the car himself. Said that any Saturday if you went to a Strauss Auto Parts store in Brooklyn the parking lot would be full of guys working on their cars trying to keep them running.  Apparently, Strauss Auto Part stores are still around.

 

Paul 

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In the late teens era Ford paid his factory workers $5.00  / day for an 8 hour day.  About 60 cents an hour.  This was said to be about double what factory work generally paid , or about 30 cents an hour.  By the early days

of the Depression Ford tried to reduce wages from this figure and caused substantial push back from the work force. 

 10 cents an hour must have been a relatively low skilled wage. 

 

Greg 

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I did file processing for off shoots of the original owners of this publishing company. Ancestors of the Scott half formed Scott Publishing until the younger generation sold off the three trade journals in the plumbing/heating industry. The Adam’s family name is still used on a number of magazines but the family sold out to a financial group years ago.  They were all good people to do work for in the 70’s thru the 90’s 

Edited by SC38DLS (see edit history)
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Just this year I was able to buy three of these auto parts catalogs from the early 1930s , sure everything seems very cheap if viewed by today's standards but to get proper perspective you have to look at what things cost then . Looking at what a used car that was only 2 or 3 years old cost in 1935 is amazing how the $ loss was from new . None of us can really appreciate what the Great Depression was so far as having any $ . Full course dinners ( soup to start to dessert ) was $1.25 or less.  I try to explain that to people when I address groups and give talks as village historian in the town I reside in. When I mention that my 1930 Packard 7 passenger touring car was just over $3,000 they are amazed at "how cheap" it was , I then state think of what a local house is now on the market for and that the cost of the house in 1930 was what the Packard was new. I usually get a few people blinking in disbelief. A huge pressed steel toy Lincoln sedan made by Turner Toys was $5.00 in 1928 - that was a weeks salary - would you take your weeks salary now to buy a steel toy car even if it was nearly 30 inches long?  Makes you realize why you don't see to many of certain thing from that era still around..........

Edited by Walt G
spelling correction (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, AzBob said:

Model A horn at $.90 = to $16.38 "in today’s dollars.” Actual cost to buy reproduction. $279. (Snyder’s)

Spindle bolt sets $1.05 = to $19.11 “in today’s dollars." Actual cost to buy reproduction. $82.   (Snyder’s)

3X spark plugs at $.38 = to $6.92  “in today’s dollars”  Actual cost to buy reproduction. $37. (Snyder’s)

Interesting to note that the 3X spark plugs are nearly 100 times the 1932 cost of $.38.

 

Somewhere there is huge disconnect in the actual cost to purchase these items vs the inflation calculator. What are we missing here? I have noted this before. Somehow the prices do not fit the inflation calculator model....

 

The difference can surely be attributed to Ford's

tremendous volume, and thriftiness in purchasing

from suppliers, in the quest to make an affordable car.

Volume brought lower costs, but today's reproductions

are done in vastly smaller numbers, losing that advantage.

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When Henry Ford introduced the $5 work day wealthy people around the world worried that an amount of money like that accrued in an average man's salary would exceed their ability to manage.

It took a hundred years but the average man has worked hard to prove them right. Consumer debt in 2020 is just a hair over $14 trillion.

 

People also believed the human senses could not process the information needed rapidly enough to drive at speeds exceeding 10 miles per hour. They figured that out when they saw an Oldsmobile tiller knock a cup out of the holder the first time. That led to a crisis in the China cup industry.

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I have always figured then and now costs based on minimum wage. 

Using a 1930 Pontiac radiator from the first catalogue @ 12.95 at .10 cents an hour it would take 129 hours to buy it.

In 1962, min wage in Manitoba was .50.  I bought a new radiator for 60.00 so I had to work 120 hours to pay for it.

Today 15.00 minimum wage here would suggest that a new rad would cost about 125 hrs x 15.00 =$1875.00. Which seems right in the ballpark.

Just about the same ratio of hours to buy something today as anytime in the past.

 

In 1930 my Grandfather paid $810.00 for a new Pontiac, almost one years wages.  Today at our local minimum wage $15.00 equals $33,000 annually you have many new cars to choose from.

I do not think the ratio has changed much.  I think we just want too many things.  I remember living in a house with 6 people and one bathroom.  Now everyone wants at least one more bathroom than they have bedrooms.  My Grandfather had a pair of dress shoes and a pair of work boots.  Most men that I know have at least 5 pair of shoes.  I have two, one for dancing (leather soles) and for everyday walking.

We used to live with one telephone per household, now we need a cell phone for each and every person and some people have three or four.  My bachelor son has a 42" TV in his living room and three 65" tvs as monitors for his gaming computer in his games room. 

 

IMHO. 

Most of our so called inflation is based on WANTS not NEEDS.

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On 11/9/2020 at 9:36 AM, George Albright said:

Any chance of getting a photocopy or an emailed copy of the 1903 Dykes catalogue? Happy to pay any copy and postage costs. Thanks George Albright 209 S E 15th Ave Ocala Florida 34471 cell weekdays 352 843 1624. Email gnalbrigjt@gmail.com 

George-just sent you an email, would be happy to make a copy for you. 

 

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On 11/9/2020 at 9:36 AM, George Albright said:

Thanks George Albright... Email gnalbrigjt@gmail.com 

 

George, did you perhaps mistype your e-mail

address?  I don't think your name has a letter "j".

And, unlike mailed letters, e-mails won't go 

through if one letter in the name is wrong!

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