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1910 Historic Grocery Prices

Updated on November 24, 2012

In 1910 the average laborer worked about 57 hours a week and made 26 cents an hour, making weekly wages about 14.82. Laborers include miners, workers in factories and construction and postal workers, most employees were not unionized.

There was no federal withholding at the time, so laborers would be able to keep all their wages, minus what employers deducted for uniforms, etc. Employees did not get vacations and worked 52 weeks a year, unless business demand went down, in that case the workers were thrown out of work with no unemployment or other benefits.


40% of the $14.82 a week went for groceries, only 20% for housing with another 20% for apparel with the rest going toward fuel, medical expensive, alcohol and misc expenses. Below are some typical prices from the time period. I got the information from newspaper advertisements, so they might be a little low, but I'm sure people shopped the sales like we do today.

Some items were quite cheap and common, but some items are surprisingly expensive. I used an inflation calculator to determine the 2012 prices. Keep in mind that a lot of people had gardens and kept a few chickens, even in 1910 but this was becoming less common, especially in the cities and town. Most families still made their own bread and desserts, but if they didn't, a loaf of bread was only 4 cents and a layer cake 27 cents. This translates to 98 cents for a loaf of bread, which is pretty cheap. The cake is a little more expensive at $6.59 but not out of line with what you would spend at a grocery store backery.




FRESH FRUIT

 
1910
adjusted to 2012 prices
grapefruit
.05
1.22
dozen lemons
.23
5.62
dozen oranges
.29
7.08
10 pounds apples
.25
6.11
6 pounds bananas
.25
6.11
quart cranberries
.19
4.64
1 lb grapes
.08
1.95
1 lb peaches
.05
1.22
1 lb prunes
.12
2.93
Shipping was rather expensive so imported fruit tended to be rather more expensive that it would be today with our faster, cheaper transportation.

FRESH VEGETABLES

 
1910
adjusted to 2012 prices
bunch brocolli
.10
2.44
1 pound cabbage
.04
.98
bunch of carrots
.05
1.22
head of cauliflower
.15
3.66
stalk of celery
.05
1.22
pound of green beans
.08
1.95
head of lettuce
.08
1.95
10 pounds onions
.18
4.40
10 pounds potatoes
.25
6.11
5 pounds sweet potatoes
.15
3.66
10 pounds potatoes
.19
4.64

MEAT AND FISH

 
1910
adjusted to 2012 prices
1 pound ham
.13
3.18
.23
5.62
1 pound bacon
.09
2.20
1 pound pork sausage
.21
5.13
1 pound leg of lamb
.27
6.59
1 pound veal chops
.23
5.62
1 pound sirloin steak
.21
5.13
1 pound ground beef
.16
3.91
pint fresh oysters
.29
7.08

DAIRY

 
1910
adjusted to 2012 prices
buttter
.36
8.79
1 pound cheese
.19
4.64
1 quart milk
.08
1.95
1 pound margarine
.33
8.06
1 dozen eggs
.34
8.30

BAKING STAPLES

 
1910
adjusted to 2012 prices
10 pounds sugar
.48
11.70
25 pounds flour
.83
20.30
3 pounds shortening
.47
11.50
1 pound lard
.07
1.71
large can evaporated milk
.13
3.18

CANNED GOODS

 
1910
adjusted to 2012 prices
small can sardines
.24
5.86
16 ounce can salmon
.15
3.66
20 ounce sliced apples
.07
1.71
16 ounce can fruit cocktails
.08
1.95
16 ounces cherries
.10
2.44
20 ounces peaches
.14
3.42
15 ounces pumpkins
.09
2.20
tall can asparagus
.17
4.15
16 ounces corn
.07
1.71
16 ounces green beans
.07
1.71
16 ounces peas
.09
2.20
16 ounces sour kraut
.05
1.22
.05
1.22
16 ounces tomatoes
.05
1.22
.05
1.22

MISC GOODS

 
1910
adusted to 2012 prices
5 pound rolled oats
.16
3.91
.25
6.11
Jello
.05
1.22
14 ounces catsup
.10
2.44
1 pound saltines
.07
1.71
1 pound marshmallows
.13
3.18
package Uneeda biscuits
.05
1.22
5 pounds rice
.17
4.15
1 pund macaroni
.11
2.69
 
 
 
 
 
 

BEVERAGES

 
1910
adjusted to 2012 prices
1 pound coffee
.22
5.37
1` pound tea
.14
3.42
46 ounce can tomato juice
.15
3.66
46 ounce can pineapple juice
.23
5.62
24 ounce can grape juice
.13
3.18
.19
4.64

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