Monday, March 19, 2012

The Cost of Cars 1912 - The Titanic Era

The Everett 1912

As I write The Diary of a Confirmed Spinster, the follow up to Threshold Girl (about a colllege girl in 1911/12 based on real letters) I thought I'd write a post about the Cost of Living in the Titanic Era, but a Dayton Ohio newspaper beat me to it.

My Tighsolas website has all the info, though. (Tighsolas is about the Nicholson Family of Richmond Quebec in 1910, but they kept house accounts from 1883 to 1921!) Many students come to my website for the Cost of Milk in 1900!

So instead I am showing you the Cost of Automobiles in 1912.

These car ads from 1912 are also on the website Transportation in the Laurier Era
If you want to read about these cars,the copy and there's plenty of it, check this page out. All About 1912 cars

A few models of the 1912 Abbott-Detroit.

Of course, from 1908-1913, Ford got his Model T rolling off the assembly lines. Just 690 dollars! Most cars cost between 1500 and 3000!

The Marion

Hey, they had Rambler's in the 60's.

Here's a page from the Nicholson Store Book 1910 entry. A quart of milk, 5 cents.

Of course, the cost of living means nothing without a mention of the salaries of the era.

Norman Nicholson made 100 a month on the railroad, (hard work far away in the bush) and that was cut to 50 dollars. Marion Nicholson made 650 a year as a teacher, with four years experience, in the city with diploma. Her sister Edith made 200 a year (with board)teaching in the city without a diploma.

It was said that a Montreal family needed 1500  a year to live decently. From the 1911 Canadian Census, few families made that much, even with the mother and father both working.

Bricklayers, I saw on the census, made good money, for the working class, 1200 a year or so. Stenographers, a growing job area, made about 700 a year.

Very rich men didn't put their salary on the census. My husband's grandfather, Thomas Wells, President of Laurentian Spring Water made 7,000 a year according to the census! That made him quite well off. He's the subject of my eplay Milk and Water.  My own grandfather, Jules Crepeau, was Assistant City Clerk at City Hall in 1911, making only 3,000. Maybe that's why he got caught in bribery trap mounted by  journalist, Edward |Beck, who used Burns Detectives with wiretaps (detectophones). Jules also figures in Milk and Water.(He won a slander suit against Beck and rose to be Director of City Services.) My play takes place in 1927. Jules is now making 10,000 a year.

Factory workers in Magog, Quebec, The Dominion Textile Factory all worked 60 hours (sic) and made between 460 and 700 a year  if you believe the entries. That plant wove cotton (filiature coton).

Someone appears to have doctored the document, a big no no, but that business had clout.. My story Threshold Girl has a subplot about child labour in 1911 at that particular factory.