The Saga Continues…

Just in case you missed our first adventure, we tackled typewriters as the inaugural de-cluttering category. Next on the hit list….


(and adding machines)

{and copy machines}

Although we didn’t have them in the sheer numbers (like the Serengeti grazers sized herd of typewriters), some of these machines certainly made up for it in size!


This guy is a Gestetner (basically a copy machine…click the long ‘G’ word for a link to more info about it). We had…a few…of these guys too…

IMG_1992 IMG_1991

(it took multiple grown men plus a moving-dolly in order to get some of these things from point A. to B.)

I must say however, that some of these pieces were GORGEOUS! [specifically the one below. it is dusty, but the detail is incredible]. Apparently, for a certain age of register, a common decoration is a marble topped cash drawer framing out the actual register it’s self, (which also contributes to making it very heavy if you can’t remove it).


We have another one, kind of similar in the General Store Display in the Stone House, it has the white marble also, but isn’t as big as the one above.


We don’t know much about the first one, apart from it came out of the Yahk collection. Kind of like the typewriter, the keys on these guys are practically impossible to resist pushing! The first one has buttons up to $10, and the one just above actually maxes out at $15!

What?! Hold up.

Compared to POS systems today, that is a big difference!

But keep in mind, this register is from ~1912, and prices were SIGNIFICANTLY different!

I love the internets…found a graph HERE, made up of average wages for industry type jobs from early 1900’s to more recently. Around here, things like logging were mainstays, maybe some railroad, small businesses, along with agriculture, being the most prominent. (scroll down to the bottom for the earliest years)

I have a game downstairs in the store, comparing prices from post war/pre-depression era, to during the 30’s, and good mercy…it is incredible! It was actually taken out of a local grocers add, trying to bring business in for the great value they were offering. It was somewhere around the idea of ‘Before, $17.? got you a bag of sugar, but now look what you can get in our store for the same price’ and it goes on to list all the wonderful deals…

–>The following prices were from 1933… <–

1 tin baking powder ($0.90)

1lb Groceteria (Western Family/PC equivalent) Coffee ($0.27)

6 bars soap ($0.25)

1 tin Jam ($0.47)

1lb Cheese: ($0.22)

98lbs Flour ($2.25)

100lbs Sugar ($5.85)

20lbs Rolled Oats ($0.85)

2 cans milk ($0.23)

4lbs Rice ($0.23)

Sack of Salt ($0.14)

(yes, I know this doesn’t total 17 & change, I didn’t have room on my card for all the stuff, I just chose some staples)

Now, on one hand, it is pretty nice how much the prices dropped by the consumers point of view; but the flip side being, families were also making SIGNIFICANTLY less, in fact, they were lucky enough to be making anything at all! (fun fact: this is where ‘Hobo Art’ came from, since many ‘Hobos’ were actually skilled business and tradesmen who found themselves suddenly out of work, they felt compelled to trade something for their food/lodging on their travels looking for work since they couldn’t pay cash)

Here in Creston, we were pretty lucky; we didn’t feel the depression as much as other areas in the country because basically, if you could get enough to pay your mortgage/taxes, then you could feed your family with what you grew in your back yard or on the farm, chickens were fairly cheap, you could hunt for meat…so it was do-able; very few families here were devastated, unlike the prairies.

Doing a little reading on the impact, I came across this Wikipedia page I discovered that “Urban unemployment nationwide was 19%; Toronto’s rate was 17%, according to the census of 1931. Farmers who stayed on their farms were not considered unemployed.[5] By 1933, 30% of the labor force was out of work, and one fifth of the population became dependent on government assistance. Wages fell as did prices. In some areas, such as mining and lumbering areas, the decline was far worse.”

Thirty percent…

In the grand scheme of the entire country, it seems not entirely overwhelming, but break it down, 3 out of every 10 workers was out of a job.

Just for kicks and giggles though, lets take a look at what prices were like pre- depression…


Click this guy –> 😀 for a link to a budget site I found (once again, thank you awesome internets full of knowledge) detailing approximate costs of living for a week, including price of different foods, rent ect. The numbers it has are averages for 60 cities if I am understanding it properly. According to Stats Canada, the average income in 1920 was $6,800, which would roughly equal $960 of todays dollars in a year. (try living off that now…bahaha…you couldn’t even pay property tax on a payed off property with that!)

Men tended to bring home roughly $7,500 annually, while women averaged a much leaner $4,100. MATHS TIME!

7500 / 12 months = 625 per month

625 / 4 weeks per month = 156.25 per week BEFORE TAXES


4100 / 12 months = 341.67

341.67 / 4 weeks per month = 85.42 per week BEFORE TAXES

Below is a chart I copied from Stats Canada  detailing an average/approximation of staple prices through different years.

Now, since birth control was strictly banned by many Churches, the number of children in a family could get quite high (my maternal grandfather has/had 8 siblings, even though it was post depression era).

{interestingly enough during the depression many women started laying down the law and using it anyway so they didn’t have more mouths they simply could not feed}.

Just for reference, I found a picture of 1 lb of meat. Current nutritional guidelines suggest the average adult should eat about 81 lbs of meat per year to meet nutritional requirements such as protein, and other essentials such as iron and vitamins ect.

(notice how little fresh fruit & vegetables are on this list-but lets just assume that these are being grown in a kitchen garden)


Unit 1920 1926 1928 1929 1930 1931
Staple foods
Beef, sirloin steak 1 lb. 0.389 0.294 0.345 0.363 0.356 0.286
Beef, chuck roast 1 lb. 0.251 0.160 0.206 0.227 0.221 0.158
Veal, roast 1 lb. 0.274 0.193 0.226 0.245 0.239 0.183
Mutton, roast 1 lb. 0.354 0.298 0.300 0.309 0.302 0.253
Pork, fresh, roast 1 lb. 0.397 0.302 0.273 0.300 0.298 0.223
Pork, salt mess 1 lb. 0.362 0.278 0.261 0.273 0.271 0.226
Bacon, breakfast 1 lb. 0.559 0.431 0.379 0.393 0.399 0.301
Lard, pure leaf 1 lb. 0.380 0.246 0.221 0.219 0.212 0.157
Eggs, fresh 1 dozen 0.709 0.466 0.478 0.475 0.457 0.337
Eggs, storage 1 dozen 0.608 0.398 0.412 0.403 0.394 0.271
Milk 1 qt. 0.151 0.118 0.121 0.123 0.123 0.111
Butter, dairy 1 lb. 0.631 0.406 0.417 0.428 0.368 0.272
Butter, creamery 1 lb. 0.696 0.448 0.461 0.470 0.405 0.300
Cheese, old 1 lb. 0.406 0.318 0.329 0.334 0.318 0.251
Cheese, new 1 lb. 0.383 0.318 0.329 0.334 0.318 0.251
Bread, plain white 1 lb. 0.093 0.076 0.077 0.078 0.075 0.062
Flour, family 1 lb. 0.079 0.053 0.052 0.051 0.047 0.033
Rolled oats 1 lb. 0.084 0.058 0.063 0.064 0.061 0.050
Rice, good medium 1 lb. 0.164 0.110 0.105 0.104 0.101 0.092
Beans, hand picked 1 lb. 0.117 0.079 0.089 0.115 0.094 0.061
Apples, evaporated 1 lb. 0.286 0.200 0.210 0.213 0.206 0.178
Prunes, medium 1 lb. 0.270 0.158 0.135 0.141 0.155 0.121
Sugar, granulated 1 lb. 0.197 0.079 0.079 0.073 0.068 0.062
Sugar, yellow 1 lb. 0.185 0.075 0.075 0.069 0.065 0.060
Tea, black 1 lb. 0.644 0.719 0.713 0.704 0.628 0.552
Tea, green 1 lb. 0.672 0.719 0.713 0.704 0.628 0.552
Coffee 1 lb. 0.608 0.612 0.607 0.604 0.572 0.492
Potatoes 1 pk. 0.080 0.436 0.258 0.291 0.355 0.172
Vinegar, white wine 1 pt. 0.080 0.080 0.080 0.080 0.080 0.080
All foods, weekly budget1 $ 15.99 11.21 11.04 11.34 10.96 8.49
Starch, laundry 1 lb. 0.144 0.124 0.123 0.123 0.123 0.120
Fuel and lighting
Coal, anthracite 1 ton 17.040 17.392 16.272 16.192 16.112 16.064
Coal, bituminous 1 ton 12.380 10.311 10.113 10.080 10.064 9.840
Wood, hard, best 1 cord 13.090 12.195 12.077 12.208 12.176 11.696
Wood, soft 1 cord 10.140 8.947 8.937 8.800 8.672 8.560
Coal oil 1 gallon 0.365 0.308 0.311 0.311 0.309 0.291
Rent 1 month 24.80 27.43 27.67 27.92 28.16 27.80
Grand total, weekly budget $ 25.91 21.47 21.27 21.61 21.29 18.66
Source: Statistics Canada, Canada Year Book, 1937.

First glance at those prices and we are all like “YEAH BUDDY!” Those prices are great! But try feeding say, 5 or 6 mouths on just one of those salaries…actually, lets do it! Lets figure this out and do some maths for the 1920s column…



So lets assume a fairly ‘average’ family of 5…Two adults and three children (probably between 4-8).

We’ll use current recommended servings to give us some easy numbers, especially considering the portions we eat now are much larger than in the past. We will use just the ingredients listed on the chart, with the exception of fruits & vegetables, in which case we’ll assume veggies are coming from a kitchen garden and fruit from backyard trees/bushes/neighbor surplus gifts because produce prices fluctuated so greatly.


Oatmeal with milk, bacon, and fruit


Oatmeal: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 1 cup

5.04 Cups in 1 lb of Oatmeal

{So lets say a 5 lb bag of Oatmeal for a week}

$0.08 per lb x 5 lbs = $0.40 / week


Milk: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 1 cup

4 cups in 1 quart

For 1 cup x 1 daily x 5 people x 7 days = 9 quarts

$0.15 / quart x 9 quarts in a week =  $1.35


Bacon: Current ‘Recommended Serving: = 16g

453.6g in a lb / 16g = 28.35 / 5 people = 5.67 servings each

$0.559=$0.60 x 1lb = $0.60 / week


Fruit: Home grown/ gifted by neighbor (for simplicity sake)

Therefore: Breakfast for 1 week for a family of 5 costs: $2.35



Egg & Cheese Sandwich on White Bread

(I would say home made/cheaper whole grain bread but it/ingredients isn’t/arent listed above)

*{also, if you have never enjoyed the delectable satisfaction that is a buttery crunchy squishy melty toasted egg & cheese sandwich, we can’t be friends until you do}*


Bread: Average slice = 25g = 2 slices = 50g

453.6g in a lb / 50g = 9.0 sammiches per lb of bread

$0.09 / lb / 9 servings = $0.01 per sammich

$0.01 x 5 people x 7 days = $0.35 for a week


Eggs: (using what I think most people would probably eat regardless of a sammich or making eggs for breakfast)

2/adult & 1/child = 7/meal x 7 days = 4 dozen per week

$0.71 x 4 = $2.84 for a week of eggs


Cheese: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 50g

453.6g in a lb / 50g = 9 servings per lb of cheese

$0.40 / lb / 9 servings per lb = $0.04 per serving

$0.04 x 5 people x 7 days = $1.40 for a week of cheese


Butter: *see calculations below*

$0.02 x 5 people x 7 days = $0.70


Fruit or vegetables (home grown/gifted)


Therefore: Lunch for 1 week for a family of 5 costs: $5.29



I’m just going to do a mix n’ match here, since dinner tends to vary just a touch more than breakfast or lunch…


Chuck Roast: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 75g

453.6g in a lb / 75g = 6 servings / lb

$0.25 / 6 = $0.04 x 5 people = $0.20 per meal


Pork Roast = Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 75g

453.6g in a lb / 75g = 6 servings / lb

$0.40 / 6 = $0.60 x 5 people = $0.33 per meal


Mutton Roast: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 75g

453.6g in a lb / 75g = 6 servings / lb

$0.35 / 6 = $0.058 x 5 people = $0.29 per meal


Rice: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 1/2 cup dry = 100g

453.6g in a lb / 100g = 4.5 servings / lb

$0.16 / 4.5 = $0.035 per serving

$0.035 x 5 people = $0.175 = $0.18 per meal


Potatoes: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 1 cup = 225g

453.6g in a lb / 225g = 2 servings / lb of potato

$0.63 / pkg (1pk = 10lbs potatoes) *i had to go find this another place because the chart above doesn’t include amount*

4535.92g in 10 lbs / 225g = 20.15 servings / pkg

$0.63 / 20.15 = $0.03 per serving x 5 people = $0.15 per meal


Assuming vegetables garden grown/free gift 

So add up your last meal as you see fit, again the chart doesn’t include misc. baking supplies so to do up biscuits/dumplings/home made bread to accompany dinner.


NOW… for some misc. supplies…


White Flour: $0.79 / lb

453.6g in a lb / 125g per cup = 3.6 cups in a lb

$0.79 / 3.6 = $0.22 per cup



Granulated = $0.197 / lb

Yellow (raw) = $0.185 / lb

453.6g in a lb

Granulated = 200g / cup = 2.268 cups per lb = $0.081 per cup = $0.08 per cup

Yellow (raw) = 250g / cup = 1.8144 cups per lb = $0.101 per cup = $0.10 per cup



1 serving = 4 g

453.6g in a lb / 4g = 113.4 servings

Black Tea = $0.644 / lb = $0.0056 per serving = $0.01 per serving

Green Tea = $0.672 / lb = $0.0059 = $0.01 per serving



1 serving = 7-10g per one serving

Therefore: per 8.5g

453.6g in a lb / 8.5g = 53.36 servings per lb

Coffee = $0.608 / lb = $0.011 per serving = $0.01 per serving



Prunes: (with all the bread/potatoes in the 1920s diets these would of been…essential…? welcome?)

1 serving = ~25g

453.6g in a lb / 25g = 18.144 servings per lb

Prunes = $0.270 / lb = $0.014 per serving = $0.01 per serving



1tbsp = 14.18g

453.6g in a lb / 14.18g = 31.99 = 32 tbsp per lb

Butter = 0.631 per lb / 32 tbsp = $0.019 per tbsp = $0.02 per tbsp


So this is pretty interesting! [providing all my maths skills are accurate, that is…] Yikes that is a lot of math. I haven’t had to do that in a long time! haha! And this is just for food!

We haven’t actually touched rent or mortgages yet!

The above chart states that rent was about 25 per month. Purchasing a home is a little different, but it was pretty cool looking at the cost of the kit homes at the time. HERE is a link to a website that lists a bunch of Sears Roebuck kit homes, ranging in size/price from just a couple hundred dollars all the way up to a couple thousand, and then your property purchase on top of that.

So maybe in the grand scheme, through all this time, things really haven’t changed all that much?

What is something you have noticed dramatic changes in pricing on? Essentials or regular things you buy? or occasionals/treats? we want to hear from you!


How many types could a typewriter type…

This winter we are continuing with our theme of ravenously and un-mercilessly  PURGING our collections to weed out all of the completely useless (to us) stuff that has somehow accumulated there over the last however many years. Kind of like the whole thing with the shed. Except this one has a touch more of a systematic system to go along with it.

Today’s unsuspecting victim was…



I have to apologize, my mind hasn’t exactly been super clear today, feeling a bit under the weather, so I didn’t get a picture with the shelf literally (no, like, actually literally) covered in typewriters!  So instead, here is a picture of the shelf, and you have to imagine it covered in typewriters. As in, not one more millimeters worth of room to even think of putting another thing on there. (ok, you caught me, maybe there was a millimeter)

In the museum world, typewriters and sewing machines and harrows are like bunnies. They are EVERYWHERE! and they seem to MULTIPLY! The duplicates of the duplicates…duplicated!!

So Tammy decided enough was enough. With our new storage reno coming around, we need to get serious about how much space we want to take up with things we don’t actually particularly entirely realistically need. So…judgement day it was.



That…is a lot of typewriters.

As they were filtering in, Skip and I got majorly side tracked playing with some of the nice ones…the action on the good ones is simply mesmerizing!! When I was little, my grandparents has a typewriter that my sister and I would entertain ourselves on for HOURS, but the keys were not unlike a modern keyboard. But these…oh these wonderful things…they have the round keys…and they have a very long stroke, so you REALLY have to push down in order to swing the part that strikes onto the paper hard enough to transfer. But once you get the feel, oh boy! It’s a thing of beauty…


These are some of the ones we will be keeping for programs & playing

So I started getting curious about just where exactly typewriters came from. Here is the link to the site I found, it is just a short overview, but cool none the less. According to it, it is kind of a cool process; apparently one of the first patents looked somewhat like a ‘pin cushion’…a rather interesting concept.

something like it. I am more inclined to say it resembles a hedgehog personally…

Though, this site also says that a major player in the development of typewriters spawned from an Italian by the name of Pellegrino Turri in 1808, for a blind countess friend named Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzano [say that 10 times fast…] so she could write easier. How very noble!

But like many things, including denim overalls, trends seem to circulate. Thanks to many a Hipster, the typewriter is making quite the comeback, in all it’s various forms.

Please enjoy this compilation of hipsters typing on typewriters in inappropriate public places.



And for those just slightly more motivated to tap into Wi-Fi and post their 50th Tweet of the day, there is always this lovely Typewriter styled attachment for your iPad!

{Although… I myself WILL be so bold as to say that if this thing has keys bigger than the little finger crowding keyboards that come with the iPad cases, I would in fact, be all over this thing. with bells on. if I actually had an iPad.}

So I suppose that truly says something to the appeal of a typewriter. Most, seem to weigh approximately that of a newborn Elephant (at roughly 1/20th the size), while others can be neatly tucked away in a small carrying case and touted rather pleasantly around. I suppose, if you really take a second to think about it, they do seem to have their merits…

*No techno-glitches…if it isn’t working properly, it is something mechanical that can most likely be fairly easily found and fixed, not requiring drone like robotic insight…

*You don’t necessarily have to worry about a power source with most of them…

…that is unless you haven’t had your morning coffee yet…

*You don’t have to worry about printing out your work later

*The chances of it being stolen if you get up to go to the washroom are probably pretty slim, considering just. how. freaking. heavy. it is

*You develop incredible typing precision and very strong hands

On the downside of the list…

*They are so LOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUD…..not exactly what I want to hear while I’m excitedly savoring a long awaited coffee {coffee shop coffee is an occasional treat for me, and nothing will stand in the way of my enjoying it!}

P.S.-(I don’t know who all is reading this, but if you are younger and haven’t heard typewriters in person, they are borderline obnoxious. I love onomatopoeias, and the most perfect one for a typewriter is ‘SMACK!’ ‘SMACKSMACKSMACKSMACK!’ ‘SMACK!’ ‘SMACKSMACK-SMACK-SMACKSMACKSMACK!’)

*They can be horrendously bulky

*You have to carry all the paper with you

*If you mess up a letter, no big deal, white it out and keep on going. If you change your mind about an entire paragraph or the structure of your piece? well…

*Your typing must be ON POINT, if you hit two keys at once it stalls and you have to take time to un-jam and un-stall it

*Heavens to Mergatroids… DO NOT TEAR YOUR RIBBON!

*The curious, judgmental, unwelcome, and awkward stares you will receive for choosing to cart and use your typewriter in a public space

*The possibility of solid objects being hurled in your general direction for the piercing ‘SLAP!’ sound that is burrowing into the brains of your fellow patrons as you are either painstakingly hunting & pecking or producing at the speed of light.

So I suppose you could say the pros and cons are fairly balanced in their own strange way, it’s just a matter of how much you value the general public’s opinion of you! And if you play your cards right, you could end up on your very own meme…