Stoves Circa 1962




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  • Baseline CPI 1962 – 15.9
  • Today’s CPI (May 2016) – 128.8 (up 0.5 from April)
  • 1962 prices in today’s dollar – 1962 price X 8.10

Back in 1962, modern ranges were in basic white. The elements were usually coiled steel burners. And they ranged from $139.95 for a compact 21 inch model to $294.95 for a top of the line 30 inch model. That’s $1133.60 for the small range up to $2389.10 in today’s dollar.

budgetrangep419
This premium Viking Range went for $184.95 in 1962. That’s $1498.10 in today’s dollar.

You could also get a mini-range with just two burners for just $69.95 or $566.60 today.

rangettep419

Today we can get kitchen ranges with glass tops. We can get them with stainless steel or black finishing as well as the customary white. And we can get them with self-cleaning ovens. And if you want to get real fancy, you can get induction heating elements. We had one at our last place and it was amazing.

Prices vary. You can get them at department stores like Sears or The Bay, but you can also pick them up at big box specialty stores. Sears has 234 different styles of stoves ranging from $547.91 for a Frigidaire brand basic model in white or black to $8159.99 for a Kitchen Aid brand 36 inch deluxe model with six burners running on both natural gas and electricity. The Bay has them ranging from $539.99 for a 30 inch Amana range to $9599.99 for a Kitchen Aid model. It’s exactly the same model that Sears has for $1440 less so it pays to shop around as prices vary greatly.

And of course, today we have microwave ovens as well. Although the microwave oven was invented in 1946, it wasn’t commercially available until 1955. But those were large cumbersome models and the modern countertop microwave did not come out until 1967, introduced by Amana Corporation.

Now while there are one and a third pages of electric ranges in the 1962 Spring and Summer Eaton’s Catalogue, there were in fact, two full pages of wood burning stoves. Yes! Wood burning stoves!

The wood burning stove in our featured image at the top of the page is top of the line at $271.50 or $2199.15 in today’s dollar.  It’s from Acme. The one below from Huron is $151.50 with a warming closet. That’s $1227.15 today. Both could burn coal as well.

huronwoodstove

My wife’s grandmother lived on a farm in rural Alberta until her 90s when she moved to a care home. She used a wood burning stove from McClary until the day she left the farm.

grandma and stove
Grandma Jeanie with her McClary wood burning stove. The picture was taken in 1983 when she was 86 and she passed away in 1993 at the age of 96.

Some wood burning stoves in the Eaton’s catalogue were convertible to oil burning. And if you had a summer kitchen or an annex, you could get a small wood stove to heat it. At $67.95 and $89.95, they would set you back $550.40 and $728.60 today.

annexheaters

Or you could get the old box type wood stove. We had one in our basement when we lived in Montreal. You can still get these type of box stoves today as an auxiliary heating source.

boxstoves
These two box-style wood stoves sold for $24.75 and $44.50 respectively. That’s $200.48 and $360.45 in today’s dollar.

Times certainly have changed in the last 54 years!

The full catalogue pages for the products featured here are pages 419, 420, and 421. With my next commentary I’ll be switching to the Summer Sale Catalogue, returning to the Spring and Summer catalogue some time next year.



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Washers and Dryers




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  • Baseline CPI 1962 – 15.9
  • Today’s CPI (April 2016) – 128.3 (May CPI not yet available)
  • 1962 prices in today’s dollar – 1962 price X 8.07

Today large appliances are often sold through specialty stores that sell nothing but appliances. But you can still get most appliances at your local department store as well as at some big box stores.

Back in 1962, Eaton’s was known as Canada’s Department Store. It had a presence coast to coast, not just with its stores in large cities, but also through its catalogues. Eaton’s was a pioneer in mail order to rural communities. And it sold just about everything – yes – even the kitchen sink!

I remember in 1962 we had a fairly modern washer and dryer, possibly purchased at Eaton’s. We lived in a suburb of Montreal at the time.  Our machines looked something like the ones below.

modernwasherdryerpage416

The deluxe washer and dryer on the left, at $289.95 and $184.95 respectively, would cost $2339.90 and $1492.55 in today’s dollar. Cheaper models were also listed at $219.95 for the washer and $164.95 for the dryer. That’s $1774.99 and $1331.15 respectively. All were Viking Brand – Eaton’s in-house brand.

Today washers at the Bay go for $849.99 for a Maytag model (currently on sale for $699.99) to $2049.99 for a high end Bosch. Sears has them starting at $449.99 for a Kenmore (Sears’ House Brand) to $2319.99 for a large LG model. But that one is a combination washer/dryer so you don’t have to buy a separate dryer. The highest priced stand alone washer at Sears is $1697.91. That model is less than the cheapest one at Eaton’s in 1962. The low cost Kenmore is less than a third of the price of the budget model of 1962.

Dryers ranger from $749.99 (currently on sale for $599.99) and up at the Bay  and $349.99 and up at Sears. The budget dryer is almost a quarter of the price of the 1962 model.

But those are the modern style washers and dryers. The Eaton’s 1962 Spring and Summer Catalogue featured just those four items – a half page in the catalogue. The styles shown below took up a full page!

oldstylewasherpage417

Yes! There were more of the old barrel washers with wringers in the catalogue than the modern style. What’s a wringer you ask, you young whippersnapper! Well back in the day, and I remember my mom used one before we moved to Quebec, washers had two rollers on top. You would pass the washed clothes through these rollers to squish out as much water as possible before hanging them on a clothesline. This model sold for $124.88 or $1007.78 in today’s dollar. The model below, with a square basin, sold for $142.95 or $1153.61 today.

olderstylewasherpage417

And…remember this was the prairie edition of the catalogue and it was likely that some rural homes did not, in fact, have electricity, so they also had a gas powered model running on a 1¼ h.p. Briggs & Stratton gasoline engine. It came with a long hose to carry exhaust fumes outside.

oldstylegaswasherpage417

At $174.95, this baby would set you back $1411.85 in today’s dollar!

Now the washing machine may seem like a mundane device to most of us leading comfortable lives in modern western societies. But this simple look back at the day when wringer washers were common and much of the work of washday, wringing clothes and hanging them on a clothesline, were unexceptional, should give us pause. I urge you to watch the video below for a fascinating TED talk on just how revolutionary an invention the washing machine really is and what it means to women around the world. And especially what it could mean for the millions of women who are still without this labor-saving device.

I welcome feedback and if there is anything specific you want to see, I’ll try and accommodate requests. I am selecting pages I find interesting right now rather than going sequentially. This catalogue starts with 135 pages of women’s fashions, which is a bit daunting to say the least and will need to be broken into smaller categories for sure. If you go to the catalogue pages, you can browse the individual catalogue pages I have scanned already. The items in today’s post come from pages 416 and 417 of the catalogue.




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