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Prices and Wages by Decade: 1780-1789

Links to government documents and primary sources listing retail prices for products and services, as well as wages for common occupations.

Wages in the United States, 1780-1789

Foreign wages, 1780-1789

Price and wage analysis, 1780s

Prices by state, 1780-1789

See Massachusetts prices below.

Prices in Massachusetts, 1780-1789

Prices in Massachusetts, 1780s

  • Flour
  • Dairy products: butter prices by the pound, milk by the quart, cheese and eggs.
  • Food preparations: biscuits, chocolate, coffee, molasses, salt, sugar and tea
  • Meats: beef, mutton, pork and veal
  • Poultry and game: goose, turkey, and poultry
  • Fish: codfish and herring by the pound, and fish (generally) by the 100 pounds
  • Beverages: prices for brandy, cider, wine, gin and rum
  • Spices priced by the pound, and vinegar
  • Agricultural products: apples, beans, corn, cranberries, oats, peas, potatoes, rice, rye and turnips

The price figures above were collected by the state of Massachusetts, and reported in Comparative wages, prices, and cost of living (from the 16th annual report of the Mass. BLS for 1885) by Carroll D. Wright.  Most tables below report price data up through the 1860s.  These are retail prices unless otherwise noted (source).

Prices in Massachusetts, 1780s

The price figures above were collected by the state of Massachusetts, and reported in Comparative wages, prices, and cost of living (from the 16th annual report of the Mass. BLS for 1885) by Carroll D. Wright.  Most tables below report price data up through the 1860s.  These are retail prices unless otherwise noted (source).

Prices in Massachusetts, 1780s

  • Clothing : Hats, handkerchiefs, stockings, gloves, breeches, pantaloons, hose and coats 
  • Cloth for clothing construction
  • Dress goods
    • Prices for alpaca wool and calico by the yard, as well as batiste, cambric, cashmere, crape, gingham, gauze, lawn, muslin, linsey woolsey, plaid, poplin, satin, silk, velvet and many other fabric types. 
  • Dry goods
    • Blankets, flannel, damask and denim, diaper cloth, shirtings, ticking, and more.
  • Boots, shoes and leather
    • Prices reported by the individual pair or by component such as buckles, leather, buttons, braid, fringe, etc. Detailed prices for style and type of shoe, boot, sandal, slipper, rubber overshoe, etc.  
  • Buttons and dress trimmings
    • Button prices by the dozen.  Fringe and tape by the yard. 
  • Ribbons and laces
  • Small wares : Yarn, needles, pins, embroidery silk, cotton and linen thread.  

The price figures above were collected by the state of Massachusetts, and reported in Comparative wages, prices, and cost of living (from the 16th annual report of the Mass. BLS for 1885) by Carroll D. Wright.  Most tables below report price data up through the 1860s.  These are retail prices unless otherwise noted (source).

Prices in Massachusetts, 1780s

  • Lumber
    Price for boards, plank, shingles, timber, clapboards, etc. by the foot.  Reports some prices by type of wood: ash, white oak, spruce, pine. (Source).

Foreign prices by country, 1780-1789

Prices in ENGLAND, 1780s

Prices in FRANCE, 1780s

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