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Prices and Wages by Decade: 1910-1919

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, 1910-1919


WAGES by RACE

 

Wages by occupation, 1910-1919

See job duties and qualifications in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Descriptions of Occupations, published 1918.

  • Architects' earnings, ca. 1914
    "Architects ask from $75 to $100 for designing the average dwelling," according to this page of the Montgomery Ward catalog, Building Plans of Modern Homes.
  • Building and construction trades - Union wages, 1913-1930
    Arranged by occupation and then by city and year, this source shows wages and hours for union bricklayers, building laborers, carpenters, cement finishers, inside granite cutters, hod carriers, inside wiremen, painters, plasterers, plumbers, sheet-metal workers, stonecutters and structural iron workers.

  • Government salaries and wages
    • Federal
    • State
      • New York state, 1911-1931
        This source is entirely about compensation of state and local government employees in New York. See the table of contents for additional tables and discussion.
      • Missouri, 1917
        See the  salary of every employee at Missouri state agencies and institutions. The data is reported by occupations such as dentist, druggist, physician, chaplain, cook, night watchmen, cooks, nurses and attendants, professors and teachers. Source: Missouri official manual.
    • Local government
  • Higher education - Salaries for college teachers and administrators, 1913
    For each of the major state universities in the U.S., this source lists the minimum and maximum salaries paid to college professors (associate, assistant and adjunct), deans, instructors in the prep department, and tutors. Source: "Statistics of State Universities and Other Institutions of Higher Education Partially supported By the State for the year ended June 30, 1913; Bulletin 1913, no.60"
  • Iron and steel industry wages and hours, 1907-1931
  • Iron and steel industry workers, 1907-1924
    Earnings per hour, customary hours of labor, and actual hours and earnings in one pay period in 1924 are presented in this report for wage earners in ten departments of the iron and steel industry in the United States. Summary figures for preceding years are also shown for each department.
  • Judicial branch salaries (federal employees), 1908-1922
    Arranged geographically, this source shows the salaries of circuit judges, district judges, U.S. marshals, U.S. attorneys and their assistants, deputies, commissioners, court clerks, office boys, messengers, salaries and wages of employees at U.S. penitentiaries, and more. Source: Register of the Department of Justice and the Judicial Officers of the United States. Salaries were listed in this publication up through 1922.

Manufacturing wages, 1910-1919

WAGES in FOOD MANUFACTURING, 1910s

WAGES in CLOTHING MANUFACTURING, 1910s

WAGES in TEXTILE MANUFACTURING, 1910s

WAGES in FURNITURE MANUFACTURING, 1910s

WAGES in CIGAR MANUFACTURING, 1910s

Teacher salaries by location, 1910-1919

See tabs above for individual states

TEACHER SALARIES in GEORGIA, 1910s

TEACHER SALARIES in TEXAS, 1910s

Wages by state, 1910-1919

WAGES in CALIFORNIA, 1910s

WAGES in MASSACHUSETTS, 1910s

WAGES in MISSOURI, 1910s

WAGES in MICHIGAN, 1910s

WAGES in NEW YORK, 1910s

WAGES in OHIO, 1910s

WAGES in VERMONT, 1910s

WAGES in PENNSYLVANIA, 1910s

Wages by sex, 1910-1919

Army Nurse CorpsU. S. Army nurses earned $720-$960 annually in 1918

 

Click tabs above for individual states.

Because women's wages varied a great deal around the country in the 1910s, most wage data is reported by state.  In addition to the state-by-state links below, see also the links further above for school teachers, clothing manufacture and laundry work, as women workers were heavily concentrated in those jobs.  See list of the most common occupations for women in 1910 and 1920, outside of agricultural work.

WOMEN'S WAGES in CALIFORNIA, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in WASHINGTON, D.C., 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in INDIANA, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in KANSAS, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in MARYLAND, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in MASSACHUSETTS, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in NEW YORK, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in OREGON, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in PENNSYLVANIA, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in WASHINGTON, 1910s

MINIMUM WAGE for WOMEN, 1910s

International wages by country, 1910-1919

Wages in ARGENTINA, 1910s

Wages in AUSTRALIA, 1910s

Includes bakers, engineers, store clerks, etc. Wages are categorized by industry, occupation, state capital, and sex. Expressed in shillings. Full list of years is provided below:

  • 1913, no. 6, pp. 1130-1138
  • 1914, no. 8, pp. 1013-1037
  • 1915, no.9, pp. 1063-1089
  • 1916, no. 10, pp. 1070-1102   
  • 1917, no. 11, pp. 1110-1142
  • 1918, no.12, pp. 1107-1144

Wages in AUSTRIA, 1910s

Wages in CANADA, 1910s

WAGES in CHILE, 1910s

Wages in DENMARK, 1910s

Wages in FRANCE, 1910s

Wages in GERMANY, 1910s

Wages in GREAT BRITAIN, 1910s

Wages in INDIA, 1910s

Wages in IRELAND, 1910s

Wages in JAPAN, 1910s

Wages in THE PHILIPPINES, 1910s

Wages in POLAND, 1910s

Wages in Russia, 1910s

Wages in SWEDEN, 1910s

Prices and wages analysis, 1910s

Critical analysis of government methods for collecting and reporting wage data in the 1910s.

Significant legislation about wages, 1910s-1920s

Prices in the United States, 1910-1919

PRICES for FOOD, 1910s

PRICES for MERCHANDISE, 1910s

COST to RENT, 1910s

HOME PLANS with ESTIMATED COSTS

Note: Some of these home plan catalogs estimate only the cost of materials based on prices in a particular city.  The ones that do include labor costs generally add disclaimers based on fluctuating labor rates. The front matter of each catalog usually includes some explanation.

FARMS and LAND PRICES

HOUSEHOLD UTILITIES

COST of HEALTH CARE, 1910s

COST of HOSPITALIZATION, 1910s

PHYSICIAN'S FEES, 1910s

COST of DRUGS, REMEDIES and HEALTH AIDS, 1910s

RELATED COSTS

PRICES for COMMUNICATION, 1910s

PRICES for ANIMALS, 1910s

COST OF COLLEGE or VOCATIONAL EDUCATION, 1910s

In the 1910s decade, 4% to 6% of people aged 18-21 enrolled in college. Source: U.S. Bureau of Education.

PRICES for SERVICES, 1910s

Travel and transportation prices, 1910-1919

HORSE-DRAWN TRANSPORTATION

TRAIN FARE

STEAMSHIP FARE

  • Steamship fares to and from New York, 1909
    Shows lowest rates advertised between New York City, England and Europe. Breakouts for 1st, 2nd and 3rd class travel. More detail on amenities of 2nd class and steerage travel are also available in this source, The Scientific American Handbook of Travel, published 1910.
  • Steamship fares to Latin America, South America and Caribbean
    Taken from section titled "Steamship fares and itineraries" in the 1920 U.S. Dept of Commerce publication "Commercial Travelers' Guide to Latin America." Fares show city of departure in the U.S. and port of arrival. Departure cities include New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Key West.

 

AUTOMOBILE PRICES and EXPENSES

GASOLINE PRICES

  • Gasoline prices paid by farmers, 1910-1943
    Under the heading "Supplies" in the table on page 21, this source shows the average gasoline price per gallon for 1910-1914 (five year average), 1919, 1929, 1939, and 1943.
  • Gasoline tank wagon prices - 1915
    Shows refinery prices and tank wagon prices for gasoline by region in 1915. Not necessarily the price paid by the consumer for small quantities. Also shows prices for fuel oil and kerosene. Source: Federal Trade Commission report.
  • Gasoline tank wagon price in Chicago, 1915-1922
    Tank wagon prices are prices paid by distributors rather than end consumers. Although these are not retail prices, it does show time series price data for one place (Chicago) over seven years.
  • Wholesale prices of gasoline and crude petroleum, 1913-1918
    Table shows wholesale prices of one gallon of gasoline from tank wagons in New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Kansas City, and San Francisco by month and quarters for the years 1913 to 1918. Subsequent tables show wholesale prices of other petroleum products such as kerosene, lubricating oil, fuel oil, paraffin, and petrolatum. Source: War Industries Board Price Bulletin No. 36, 1919.
  • Gasoline - Mileage per gallon
    The distance one could travel on a gallon of gasoline depended on the weight of the automobile, the condition of roads, the design of the vehicle itself and other factors. To find mentions of MPG in the historic literature, search for the phrase "miles to the gallon" in HathiTrust's full text search, limiting to the date range desired.

HOTEL RATES

LUGGAGE

Cost of living and consumer expenditures, 1910s

There were a great number of articles and books about the cost of living published in the 1910s.  The bibliography published in 1919 lists quite a few of them.  Most should be freely available in the HathiTrust Digital Library.  Let us know if you need assistance finding what you need.
 

COST OF LIVING in CITIES and TOWNS

COST OF LIVING on FARMS

Buying power of past wages expressed in today's dollars

Analysis - Prices in the 1910s

International prices by country, 1910-1919


Click the tabs above for single countries.

Prices in ARGENTINA, 1910s

Prices in AUSTRALIA, 1910s

Prices in AUSTRIA, 1910s

Prices in CANADA, 1910s

Prices in FRANCE, 1910s

Prices in GERMANY, 1910s

Prices in GREAT BRITAIN, 1910s

Prices in HUNGARY, 1910s

Prices in INDIA, 1910s

Prices in IRELAND, 1910s

Prices in JAPAN, 1910s

Prices in MEXICO, 1910s

Prices in POLAND, 1910s

Prices in RUSSIA, 1910s

Prices in SPAIN, 1910s

Prices in TURKEY, 1910s

Quotable facts for the 1910-1919 decade

In the United States...

  • Bread cost an average of 5¢ per pound in 1912. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  • Milk cost an average of 17¢ per half gallon in 1910. Source: U.S. BLS
  • Eggs cost an average of 34¢ per dozen in 1910. Source: U.S. BLS
  • Coffee cost an average of 27¢ per pound in 1910. Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture 
  • The average car price was $2,214 in 1910 and $2,226 in 1919. Source: Automotive Industries (trade publication)
  • A gallon of gasoline cost an average of 19.8¢ in 1910-1914. This increased to 28.3¢ by 1919. Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Carpenters earned 50¢ per hour in 1910 in Washington, D.C. Source: U.S. BLS
  • Engineers earned an average of $884 in their first year out of college.  Source: Engineering News, Sep 1915.
  • Carpenter tool kits cost $15.30. Source: Sears Spring 1910 catalog
  • Men's work boots cost $1.35 a pair. Source: Sears Spring 1910 catalog

Timeline -- Major Economic Events of the 1910s

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1910

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1911

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1912

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1913

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1914

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1915

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1916

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1917

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1918

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1919

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

Legend

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