Power Tool Prices in 1951
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  1. #1
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    Default Power Tool Prices in 1951

    Power Tool Prices in 1951

    Some of you may enjoy a look at power tool prices from a Fall 1951 Grainger catalog.
    (The catalog measures about 3/16" in thickness at 101 pages including front and back cover.)

    Sixty-eight-years later, it's fascinating to note the cost of a typical consumer grade power tool
    found in any "big box" store can ring up at a similar price range today.

    John
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 5632.jpg   5634.jpg   5635.jpg  

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    Minimum wage was $.75 then.

    Gas was $.20 gallon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebfab View Post
    Minimum wage was $.75 then.

    Gas was $.20 gallon
    Been watching "Mayberry RFD" on t.v. lately.
    Grocery store window, "potatoes 10 lbs $2.00"

    They still are $2.00 for 10 lbs.

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    In 1974, I was loaned a Grainger catalog by a metalworking art teacher. He invited me to give him an order that he would place under his name because he wanted to keep his account active and he seldom ordered anything. The prices in the catalog were highly inflated and the "account holder" would get a huge discount. I wonder if they were pricing that way in the 1951 catalog.

    I have a very realistic way of seeing old prices. I have a collection of Sears general and tool catalogs. I know those were the actual prices people paid, unless there was a sale on. I got my first Sears machine in 1949 and it was years before I switched over to industrial grade tools and machines, so I was very familiar with Sears.

    Larry

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Been watching "Mayberry RFD" on t.v. lately.
    Grocery store window, "potatoes 10 lbs $2.00"

    They still are $2.00 for 10 lbs.
    And the labor assembling them is still $.75 an hour!

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    The resolution of the catalog pages posted could have been better.

    The $18.29 3/8" SPEEDWAY DRILL shown on one of the posted photos has three prices.

    List: $27.50

    Each: $19.25

    Lots 3: $18.29

    Larry;

    You're correct about the pricing being inflated. This particular catalog was labeled
    a "Net Wholesale Prices For Dealers". So the prices published were likely what one paid.

    At one time, I recall Grainger provided their catalog with a local contractor or business
    name on the cover. By the 1980's sometime, they stopped offering that feature.

    A funny memory I recall of a Grainger salesman stopping in on his monthly sales call...
    is how he spotted a big McMaster-Carr catalog sitting on the front service counter next to "his" Grainger book .

    He said he'd not thumbed through the competitor's catalog in a while and asked to see
    if they still offered chrome plated ceremonial shovels. He seemed to envy that because Grainger
    didn't offer such a thing.

    John

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    I have a 1952 McMaster catalog that I paid a buck for it in 1991 at a flea market. I love looking through that thing.

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    true temper,

    That old McMaster-Carr catalog from '52 would indeed be a fun read.
    If you happen to check in on this thread again, I'd be curious to know what
    catalog number a 1952 book would be.

    John

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    I finely remembered to look at my catalogue
    I lied to you its a #49 copywriter 1942. Great old book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Been watching "Mayberry RFD" on t.v. lately.
    Grocery store window, "potatoes 10 lbs $2.00"

    They still are $2.00 for 10 lbs.
    Probably the same spuds..a hair past their shelf life by now.

    Stuart

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    Some more photos of inside of catalog.



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Thank you for the McMaster Carr images. Macarco vises (which I'd not heard of before), lots of Starrett. Anyone know when McMaster Carr stopped identifying brand names in their catalogue (or do they still do it in their print catalog)?
    David

    And I just looked at McMaster Carr on line for micrometers and saw they identify both Starrett and Mitutoyo. Well my general question still holds.

    David
    Last edited by old_dave; 03-29-2019 at 02:51 PM. Reason: punctuation, more information

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    That first 1942 McMaster catalog image shows a "Macarco Body Builder's Vise" in the lower left corner. There was an identical vise in the maintenance shop of my previous employer, a former Rockwell Aerospace plant. I had always wondered what the smooth, deep jaws were intended for, now I know.

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    Macarco is listed on the cover page under “cable address” maybe that was a house brand at the time? Anyone know?

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    Those prices look good now but remember if you brought home $50 in 1951 you probably had a good job.

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    Smile

    I like the "Cable Address" of Macarco on the cover of the catalog. That's something else that's gone away. Everything had code words to keep the number of characters/words in the message down. I'm not sure, but I think it was billed by words.

    I have a No.45 Cleveland Twist Drill catalog(copyright 1947), and it has cable codes for all the products. A Mechanic's Drill Set No. 57 is PARLORTY. A Carbon Steel Set No.52 is PARLIGHT (for curiosity,it cost $16.20 for the case, drills, benchtop index, and metal case. A benchtop index alone sold for $99 on ebay recently). MoMax hss and cobalt tool bits were LURA, LURIAN, LURED, LURIB. A 1/2" double ended four flute HSS end mill with Weldon shank is LUKPEAR, and was $3.50.

    There were a ton of other codes covering sizes, quantities, and questions.

    Asafetida- Can you ship at once?
    Ascetic- Ship all you can and advise delivery on balance before entering

    So, here's a conversation between the company and a customer:

    Assailable Baker Bard

    Ascendent Loop Baker Bard


    Translated

    Do not understand your order 2465; compare with our Catalog and give list numbers.

    List number 516 wanted for our Number 2465


    Dates were made by combining fractional codes. 3 March is Ash Dorf

    Please let me know if you need pricing on specific items....


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