Stoking Up the Barbie




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  • Baseline CPI 1962 – 15.9
  • Today’s CPI (June 2016) – 129.1 (up 0.3 from May)
  • 1962 prices in today’s dollar – 1962 price X 8.12

You might guess from the title that I am in Australia right now. Barbecues are very popular here, no doubt due to being able to barbecue year round. It’s such a big thing out here that every park in the greater Perth area seems to have public barbecues available for use. We’ve had family dinners at the local park using the public barbecue to cook up the grub.

Public barbecue at Sorrento Beach near Perth, Australia
Public barbecue at Sorrento Beach near Perth, Australia. All major parks seem to have one or more of them.

IMG_6707-r
The barbecues are run on propane and have flat cooking surfaces. Users are expected to clean up after themselves.

But I digress. Back in 1962, Eaton’s had a limited number of barbecues in their Summer Sale Catalogue. They were pretty basic compared to some of the barbecues available today.

Some barbecues from 1962.
Some barbecues from 1962.

At $18.77 for a basic unit and $24.88 for one with a warming oven, these would cost you $152.41 and $202.03 respectively. You could get them with stainless steel hoods as well. The deluxe model with warming oven in stainless steel went for $39.99 or $324.72 in today’s dollar.

The barbecue has made considerable progress since then. For one, you can get much larger models. Ours has a large cooking surface as well as a stove top on the side for cooking vegetables or whatever. And they aren’t limited to charcoal fuel.

Sears Canada and The Bay both carry barbecues, though you can also get them at Home Depot Canada, Canadian Tire and other outlets. Sears has 38 propane gas grills, 18 natural gas grills, 4 electric grills and 4 charcoal grills.  The charcoal grills run from a basic Kettleman model at $229.99 to a deluxe Broil King model for $999.97.

charbroil3burnergasgrill
This Char-Broil brand 3 burner grill with a side burner is much like the one we own though ours is a different brand and in stainless steel and cost a bit more.

Propane grills run from $219.99 for a portable model to $2699.97 for a top of the line model with six burners and an oven. Crikey! That’s more than most regular stoves! But they do have a model much like the one we own for $224.95 (seasonal clearance price). Less than the deluxe model of 1962 and you get so much more.

The Bay has barbecues running from $279.99 to $2749.99.

A Weber grill much like the one our daughter and her fiancé have.
A Weber grill much like the one our daughter and her fiancé have.

But the place for bargain prices is Home Depot. There you can find barbecues as low as $39.99 for a 14 inch table top charcoal barbecue. One much like the Eaton’s model of 1962 can be had for $109.00 for an 18 inch surface and $149.00 for a 22.5 inch surface. Both are from Weber, considered by many to be the best brand in barbecues today. Our daughter’s fiancé has one and uses it all the time. He swears by charcoal and is not keen on propane barbecues.

Propane barbecues at Home Depot run from $48.98 to $3199.00.

hibachiOther items from 1962 include the basic hibachi at $7.88 or $63.99 in today’s dollar. Don’t know if they sell them any more, although I had one about thirty or forty years ago. I couldn’t find one for sale anywhere.

We certainly have come a long way with barbecues. The simple models of 1962 are still more or less available, but today there is so much more variety to what you can find.

The items in today’s post can be found on pages 166 and 167 of the 1962 Eaton’s Summer Sale Catalogue.

Now excuse me while I go and throw some shrimp on the barbie, mate!

 




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Lawn Mowers




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  • Baseline CPI 1962 – 15.9
  • Today’s CPI (June 2016) – 129.1 (up 0.3 from May)
  • 1962 prices in today’s dollar – 1962 price X 8.12

The front cover of the Eaton’s Summer Sale Catalogue for 1962 features a lawn mower on the front cover (shown above). It’s your standard push gas mower and was selling for the seemingly cheap price of $62.99 back then. Only $6 a month on the installment plan! But in today’s dollars, that would be $511.48. A similar mower today at Sears would set you back anywhere from $199.95 to $499.99, both by Yard Machines.

A self-propelled model from 1962
A self-propelled model from 1962

Technologically, rotary mowers haven’t changed much. A rotating blade under the housing powered by a gasoline engine on top. Some of the top models today have electric start. And most of today’s models have a grass catcher bag as a standard accessory.

Back then there were some models with a drive system. Self-propelled. The model at left went for $101.87 which is $827.18 in today’s dollar. The cheapest at Sears today is their Craftsman house brand at $399.95. The most expensive, also from Craftsman, goes for $549.99.

self propelled mowers p 175The 1962 catalogue also featured self-propelled reel type models $94.50 for the economy model or $121.95 for the deluxe model.  That’s $767.34 and $990.23 respectively in today’s dollar. Sears doesn’t have them nor does Canadian Tire. But I did find an electric one at Home Depot Canada for $599.00.

However, push reel mowers have come into vogue again as a way to keep fit. In 1962, push reel mowers went from $13.49 to $19.87 or $109.53 to $161.34 in today’s dollar. They range from $109.99 to $179.99 at Sears today.

push mowers p 174
Push reel mowers have become popular again today, mainly as a way to keep fit.
electric mowers p 175
Electric mowers from 1962

You could also get electric mowers in 1962. At $89.95 and $55.66, the ones shown above would cost $730.39 and $451.96 in today’s dollar. Similar products at Sears today run from $229.99 to $449.99.

For larger yards, you could get a riding mower back in 1962. But they were pretty simple affairs compared to today’s models.

deluxe riding mower p 174
This deluxe Ride ‘Em mower from 1962 is pretty simple. There was also a less expensive one at $169.50

At $169.50 and $249.50 for the deluxe model, they would set you back $1376.34 or $2025.94 in today’s dollar. Sears doesn’t carry them but you can get them from $1299.99 to $2999.99 at Canadian Tire. They range up to $6707.00 at Home Depot Canada. You can get even pricier models at specialty shops. Toro and John Deere are the leading manufacturers of riding mowers today.

While the technology for basic lawn mowers hasn’t changed much since 1962, there are some things available today that weren’t even invented yet in 1962. Most notable of these, of course, is the weed whacker.

You can find the products shown here on the full catalogue pages 174 and 175 as well as the front cover.




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