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tea, that did this beverage enter more largely than it does into household consumption a lower general predominant would result than the figure actually quoted, 41 to 56 cents; but an average weekly family consumption of from less than one-fourth pound to a little less than one-half pound, respectively, in the lowest and highest income classes in the American-British budget, although this is a quantity considerably in excess of a general working-class average for the whole country, still leaves tea among the commodities that rank among the less important from the point of view of family expenditure.
In coffee the range in prices, both absolutely and relatively, is much less marked, never falling below 18 cents a pound, this figure only appearing as the lower predominant price for Baltimore, and never exceeding 35 cents, a maximum that is only reached in the higher predominant figure in four of the New England cities--Boston, Brockton, Lawrence, and Lowell. The predominant range of from 20 to 25 cents is the actual predominant in Chicago, Cleveland, Duluth, Memphis, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Savannah; while in seven cases, including Pittsburg, Cincinnati, and New Orleans, 20 cents is the most usual local price, and in five cases, including New York, it is 25 cents.
The general uniformity prevailing in the price of sugar is a reflection of the extensive control exercised over this particular market by a single company. The predominant prices for white granulated, the kind that is in by far the most general use, are 54 and 6 cents a pound. Brown sugar, when purchased, appears to be often used in cooking and sometimes for making candy. Loaf sugar was still less frequently sold, and for this no predominant price can be quoted.
Bacon is not so extensively consumed as in England, fresh pork taking relatively a more important place in the family dietary. The comparatively high range for bacon in Chicago—a great center of its production of from 18 to 22 cents a pound is noticeable. The general predominant range is from 17 to 20 cents.
Eggs are consumed in America in great quantities, and in February, 1909, when new-laid eggs were often very dear-quotations of, for instance, from 36 to 42 cents a dozen, being certainly not above the ranges for that season of the year-storage eggs were those most generally consumed. It may be observed that the normal effects of geographical position on price were found to be almost, if not quite, eliminated; the most usual price in Minneapolis-St. Paul, for instance, 24 to 29 cents a dozen for storage eggs, was exactly the same as that being paid in Brockton, Louisville, Memphis, and Savannah; while the price of eggs at Duluth of 24 to 36 cents a dozen was identical with that for New York and somewhat lower than that for New Orleans, where 36 cents a dozen was the maximum.
The cheese to which the price quoted in the above table refers and which has been described throughout the city reports as “American cheese," in order to distinguish it from cream cheese as understood in England, is that known as “full cream,” by which is really meant full milk, that is, not skim milk. As will be observed, the most usual price of cheese of this description—20 cents a pound-shows great uniformity.
Butter, as in the case of cheese, is a commodity in which the usual prices paid are very regular, and geographical position, again owing to the combined agencies of cold storage and efficient transport, has no appreciable effect on the predominant range, which runs from 32 to 35 cents a pound. The highest usual price quoted is included in the wide Pittsburg range of from 30 to 404 cents a pound, and the lowest is that of from 28 to 32 cents for Providence.
Potatoes are dear in the United States and the highest prices were quoted in the Southern group of cities (where, however, as compared with sweet potatoes they are of least importance) and in New York and Paterson. They were lowest in the cities of the Middle West, with the exception of St. Louis, in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Pittsburg, and in the New England cities, other than Boston. In these 13 towns the extreme range was from 91 to 14 cents per 7 pounds and the predominant range was from 11 to 14 cents, as compared with the general predominant of from 114 to 17 cents per 7 pounds.
The brands of wheat flour most usually consumed are western and the market is highly sensitive and highly centralized. The differences in the most usual prices are thus mainly explained partly by local preferences for particular brands, and partly by geographical position, great distances from the wheat-growing areas sending prices for the same qualities slightly, but only slightly, upward. In the group of Middle Western cities the highest usual price never exceeded 25 cents per 7 pounds, which was approximate to the customary starting point for most of the New England and other Eastern cities, including New York. The general predominant price is from 23 to 27 cents per 7 pounds. The most general unit by which wheat flour was purchased by the working classes was the bag of 244 pounds (one-eighth barrel). In some cases, however, it was stated that the bag contained only 24 pounds, and it was not found possible to distinguish with certainty in which towns a 24-pound bag was more usual. Accordingly the bag has been taken throughout at its nominal content, viz, 24} pounds, any resultant error being very small.
As is clearly shown by the separate city reports, bread is sold in great variety and ranges, from the big rough rye loaf, as retailed in Jewish quarters in New York at 3 cents a pound, and the “half rye loaf of various sizes and prices, to the pure wheat loaf. This also
is of many shapes and prices, but apart from the Italian communities, the predominant kind is that retailed at 5 cents a loaf. It is mainly on this loaf as being the size most generally sold that the predominant price is based. The loaf appears to be very rarely weighed at the time of sale, but, though ranking in a general way as a pound loaf, it fluctuates with the price of wheat and flour, and in February, 1909, generally weighed from 14 to 15 ounces. Thus, in that month, the predominant price was from 22 to 23} cents per 4 pounds. In spite of a connection that is manifest between the prices of bread and those of wheat and flour, the high price of the former has to be looked for mainly in circumstances attending the manufacture and distribution of the loaf-in the rate of wages paid;' in establishment charges, including those of delivery and of advertisement; in the more frequent distribution through middlemen; and in the range of high total profits involved in the machinery of production and distribution.
It should be observed, however, that bread in the shape of the baker's loaf, like tea, enters relatively to a slight extent into the American wage earner's dietary and that consequently a high predominant price for bread to that extent loses much of the significance which it possesses in countries in which dietaries are less varied, and in which bread substitutes, either home baked or purchased, are less widely consumed.
The predominant price of milk is from 81 to 94 cents a quart, New York, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee having a uniform price of 7 cents, and the six southern cities one of 12 cents. These were the extreme ranges shown, and among the remaining cities a general uniformity ruled. The importance of milk, on the one hand as a food and on the other as a possible source of infection, is being widely recognized, and the city reports contain constant reference to the greater care that is being taken to insure purity of supply. To some extent climatic conditions explain this activity just as they help to explain the high predominant price in the southern cities, since the high temperature reached during several months in the year requires exceptional care to keep milk wholesome. Thus a common municipal
From the report on “Standard Time Rates of Wages in the United Kingdom at 1st October, 1909," the following statement is taken showing for several selected cities the minimum weekly rates paid to bakers of the highest class (fore hands); London
8. 76 Liverpool..
9.00 The present report shows the following predominant weekly wages paid to bakers of the highest class in the cities named:
$17.24 Chicago, oven hands day work. Inight work
18. 25 Atlanta, first hands..
16.22 to 20.28 Baltimore, first bench hands..
14. 19 to IS. 25 Minneapolis and St. Paul, bench men.
15. 21 to 16. 22
requirement is that retailers must keep milk in refrigerated vessels and the sale of milk in bottles was found to be frequent and occasionally compulsory.
Much condensed milk is sold, of many brands and in cans of various sizes, the most usual price being 10 cents per can, and the most usual gross weight being from 16 to 18 ounces, the can generally weighing a little less than 2 ounces. Thus the usual net price of condensed milk may be taken as from 10 to 114 cents a pound.
There is a great general similarity in the method of cutting up meat throughout all the cities investigated, perhaps the most important difference as affecting the range of prices being the occasional inclusion of the fillet in the "sirloin" steak, as in Boston and a few other cities, the form of steak thus resulting corresponding to the porterhouse steak of New York and most other places.
Practically all the meat consumed is home reared and the great majority of the cities derive the bulk of their supplies of beef, pork, mutton, and lamb from western sources of supply. Owing to the demand for dairy produce, especially milk, dairy farming is much more widely diffused and veal is thus apt to be derived more uniformly and to a greater degree from adjacent areas.
In the country at large veal appears to be the dearest description of meat sold and pork the cheapest, but all meats being alternative articles of consumption great divergence in price is prevented.
The prices for the various cuts in the different cities show a considerable range, but in a few cases, as in that of the chuck roast of beef or short ribs, the uniformity of price prevailing over the great field of inquiry is very noticeable. As regards the cut mentioned, in only three cities-Chicago, Cincinnati, and Detroit-did the lowest usual price fall below 10 cents, and only once-at Atlanta-did the highest exceed 14 cents, the most usual maximum being 12 cents a pound.
General meat prices, as reflected in the index numbers, are highest in the New England cities, where the maximum of 10 per cent above the New York level is reached at Brockton. New York being taken as 100, the mean of the index numbers for this group of cities is 104. The lowest general index number for meat is shown appropriately by Chicago, where, with the other articles of food for which quotations were obtained selling in general at New York prices, the index number of meat alone is lower than in New York by 20 per cent. In the Middle West cities as a whole, as also, with the exception of Pittsburg, in the central group, meat prices are appreciably lower than in New York, the mean of the index numbers for the former group being the lowest for all the groups at 86. Mutton or lamb-a clear distinction between the two as retailed can not be drawn-is dear in the southern cities, but even so the New York index number for meat as a whole is exceeded only by Atlanta, where it stands at 102. The general meat prices at New Orleans are rather low, but the mean index number for the whole southern group is 96. Baltimore, known as a city that is favorably situated for the supplies of farm produce, has for meat prices the index number 92. Cincinnati, the center of the pork-packing industry before it shifted westward to Chicago and beyond, has a general meat index number of 86, and the average price of pork there still ranks among the lowest of all the cities, being grouped in this connection with Chicago itself, Detroit, Duluth, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Detroit, which ranks as one of the favorably situated cities, has an index number 18 per cent lower than New York. Only in eight cases is the New York index number for meat exceeded and five out of the eight are in New England, the others being Newark, Pittsburg, and Atlanta.