Archive for the ‘Thomas Ochs’ Category

We’re off to see the Wizard…

February 14, 2010

It wasn’t until we went on the gold standard in 1900 that the US had a unified currency (…the wonderful Wizard of OZ).  Originally, local banks issued local dollars, which were barely recognizable just over the hill.  Coinage, mostly foreign, was scarce.  People used “IOU’s” based on local notions of dollar value.  But as employment in the mills and factories of the Industrial Revolution increased…

…blah blah blah…

Let’s face it.  The arcane world of economics is the kiss of death.  Suffice it to say that many early potters bartered their wares.  In 1833, Ohio potter Thomas Ochs bragged about a particularly good deal he swung.  In his journal he wrote:

Today I received a chicken, six loaves of bread, and a goose.  For this I gave a colander, a three gallon jug, a five gallon crock, and six plates.”

If I received these items at today’s prices I would have received:

1 Chicken (live) $15.00
6 Loaves Bread ($4.50/loaf) $27.00
1 Goose (live) $50.00
Total Dollar Value $92.00

For this I would have exchanged (at my current retail prices):

1 Colander $80.00
1 Three Gallon Jug* $270.00
1 Five Gallon Crock** $450.00
6 Plates*** $140.00
Total Dollar Value $920.00

My, how times have changed…

(of course, if you have something worth trading, I might consider a swap)

* I don’t make them, but a gallon jug goes for $90.00, so charging by the gallon, a 3 gallon jug would probably total $270.00.
** again, not in my repertoire, so taking the $90/gallon estimate it would total about $450.
*** I’ll assume medium sized and plain for use around the house at $20 each x 6 = $140.

American Country Pottery.  Don & Carol Raycraft.  Wallace Homestead Books/Des Moines, IA.  1975.

The Roots of Rural Capitalism.  Western Massachusetts, 1790 – 1860.  Christopher Clark.  Cornell University Press/Ithaca, NY.  1990.