In case you've wondered how much four barrels of gin cost in the U.S. in 1836
I have provided the following list of What Stuff Cost, found tucked away in a book-keeping section of a very well used pocket-sized copy ofRoswell C. Smith's Practical and Mental Arithmetic on a New Plan..., which was published in Hartford in 1836. The answer to the gin question is $75, and if a barrel meant 42 gallons back then as it does now then the gin would cost about 60 cents a gallon. That of course sounds like a tiny price, but compared to what? That 60 cents would be about two-thirds of a day's wages for the average non-farm white male worker (actually between 50 cents and $1.00), while girl/women textile workers in Lowell Mass worked for about $3-4 per six day week. So if you considered working for most of theday in exchange for a bottle of (average, nothing special) gin, then it would seem a little on the expensive side. Or consider the prices of stuff as expensive or not based on a yearly salary of $300 or so and getting by on about a dollar a day.Posted by gerardvanderleun at January 4, 2017 12:42 PM
Many varieties of food and drink in this imaginary store's stock would have come in barrels (abbreviated "bbl"): gin, vinegar, brandy, pork, and beef (probably salted). Rum and molasses were tallied in hogsheads ("hhd"), a standard measure of volume usually used for alcoholic beverages.
This hypothetical clerk also stocked cloth, hats, shoes, axes, kettles, textbooks, and knives—all the items a 19th-century country clientele might have relied upon such a store to provide, in a time before widespread availability of mail-order goods.Via the Venerable JF Ptak Science Books