View Full Version : The 1950's

July 14, 2010, 07:54 AM

Go to page 42 and look at the prices!:eek:

July 14, 2010, 08:16 AM
Great prices. I saved a copy of the PDF file after looking through it. I've got to read the whole thing. Thanks.

Jim Watson
July 14, 2010, 08:28 AM
Low prices?
Now ask Dad or Grandpa how much he was earning in 1956. I bet a good gun cost more hours of work then than it does now.

July 14, 2010, 08:33 AM
Although the prices look awesome that is unlikely the case. Folks probably had less disposable income back then plus we all know the value of the dollar is much less than it was back then. A good way to gauge the difference may be to look at the price of gold back then as well as the average price of goods versus the average salary.

p.s. thanks for posting that! very interesting.

Mike Irwin
July 14, 2010, 09:42 AM
I know how much my Grandfather was earning in 1952 -- $5,700 a year.

And he was a mechanical engineer with a master's degree.

July 14, 2010, 09:47 AM
That $6.95 from the "olden days" translates to $63.60 today. But ClemBert may have nailed it when he mentioned disposable income.

Also, are those "real" replicas? As in, does a bullet come out of the business end?

The articles are pretty doggone entertaining, too! Thanks for the link, MCB!

Mike Irwin
July 14, 2010, 09:49 AM
whoa... Page 65 there's something called the Hilson Imperial sporting pistol.

It looks a LOT like a Whitney Wolverine...

I wonder if they were related.

July 14, 2010, 10:10 AM
At the bottom of the linked page is the National Wage Index 1951 - 2008.


Regarding the minimum wage, in 1956 it was raised to $1.00:

Although federal minimum-wage laws were at first held unconstitutional in the United States, a strong fight by organized labor for enactment culminated in the passage (1938) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which set minimum wages at $.25 per hour for workers engaged in interstate commerce (with some exceptions); the act also set up industry committees to recommend rates for every industry. In 1950 the minimum wage was raised to $.75 per hour. Thereafter, it was raised several times (for example, in 1956 to $1.00, in 1963 to $1.25, and in 1968 to $1.60). In 1974, Congress passed a bill providing for a gradual increase from the prevailing $1.60 per hour to $2.30 per hour by 1976. The bill also extended minimum-wage rules to some 8 million workers not previously covered, including state and local government employees, most domestic workers, and some employees of chain stores. Additional increases raised the minimum wage to $3.10 per hour (1980), $4.25 (1991), and $5.15 (1997). Legislation passed in 2007 raised the minimum wage, in three stages, to $7.25 in 2009. Since 1989 businesses earning less than $500,000 annually have not been subject to minimum-wage rules. A number of states have minimun wages that are higher than the federal minimum wage.


July 14, 2010, 11:23 AM
The guns pictured on page 42 are not real guns but non-firing replicas which sell today for about the same price in 2010 dollars.

July 14, 2010, 02:30 PM
The first muzzleloading rifle I bought was when I was a kid - about 12 in 1964. It was a reproduction "Zouave" musket . . . . the cost . . . . . the pricely sum of $65.00. My Dad helped me out but I had to pay him back. Believe me . . . the $ didn't come easy! I worked most of the summer mowing lawns to pay him back. I got $2.00 for mowing a lawn - push mowing. That's $2.00 per lawn . . . not per hour. I still have the Zouave and it means the world to me . . . . not only because I earned it but because my Dad was a part of it. :)

July 14, 2010, 02:43 PM
The first muzzleloading rifle I bought was when I was a kid - about 12 in 1964.

My inflation story is similar to bedbugbilly. While not a muzzleloader my first firearm was a Ruger 10/22 Deluxe rifle. I bought it when I was 15 years old back in 1979 for an out the door price of $77 at the Fed Mart Department Store in Santa Barbara, Kalifornia. With the assistance of my Dad to make the purchase I later paid him back in cold hard cash when the money finally came in. Still have it today at age 46 and still one of my favorite rifles.


July 14, 2010, 02:57 PM
After I got married in 1961, I worked two jobs. 8 hours on one and home for supper then 6 hours on the other. the 8 hour job paid $1/hour and the 6 hour one paid $1.25.

When I was small, (late 40s early 50s) I was allowed to go to the gun shop any time we went to the nearest town. He had the walls covered with original muzzleloaders. I had my eye on a 40 caliber Kentucky percussion rifle. Tiger stripe maple stock, gold wire inlay in the breech area and on the lock, trigger guard and butt plate. Silver wire inlaid into the stock. Some carving on the wood. I couldn't afford it nor could my family. He wanted $25 for it.
My Dad made $38 a week.

4V50 Gary
July 14, 2010, 08:02 PM
Webley Scott pistol for $24.95. That's a kingly sum with a lot of soda bottles that would need collecting to raise it, but I'd gladly pay it.

July 15, 2010, 09:37 AM
I'm not sure how this fits in, but it seems like the right place.

When my 77 year old dad was growing up, all of the guns came from his grandfather, who accumulated them in trades for plumbing work between around 1900 and 1940 or so. They couldn't even afford to buy a used gun.

Things have changed since then - he's a very wealthy man now. Pulled himself up by his bootstraps and such.

Anyway, my sister and I gave him a Henry Golden Boy for Father's Day this year. He had a tear in his eye when he told me that that rifle was the first brand new gun he'd ever owned.

I had a tear in my eye, too.

July 15, 2010, 10:01 AM
I still have a few of these from the late 1950s and early 1960s, when I first started buying gun magazines and becoming interested in firearms. Money was scarce and in spite of all the advertisements in the magazines, so were guns. I bought my first one when I was in the army and then bought several more just after I got out.

Notice that advertisements are as full of hype as they are these days. There weren't just Webley revolvers, they were Commando revolvers. Sort of the way we throw around special ops these days. Still, there were a lot of excellent guns available for a fraction of what a new gun cost. Most new guns, of the sort you would have preferred, started at over $75. My first new gun was a Browning Hi-Power around 1970 and I had to scrape to pay for the $100 it cost (or close to it). A box of 9mm was about $5.00, new production American made.

Another thing about the first round of surplus guns was the now scarce models that were available.

July 15, 2010, 10:14 AM
If you'd like to look at other back issues, I couldn't find direct links from the Guns Magazine site, but you can get to them by playing around with the link in the first post.

The first post in the thread links to G0556.pdf, which is May, 1956. If you change it to G0557.pdf, it'll give you May 1957. Changing it to G0457.pdf gives you April 1957, etcetera.

July 15, 2010, 10:21 AM
The first post in the thread links to G0556.pdf, which is May, 1956. If you change it to G0557.pdf, it'll give you May 1957. Changing it to G0457.pdf gives you April 1957, etcetera.

There goes my day!

July 15, 2010, 10:22 AM
Did anyone else spot that photo of the Remington revolver with the swing out cylinder on page 11? Pretty cool stuff.

July 15, 2010, 04:57 PM
People probably had somewhat more disposable income since the tax bite wasn't as bad back then. In his book Family and Nation Daniel Moynihan said in 1953 or so, the first 3/4 of an average family's income was exempt from taxation, by the 1980s the tax threshold was down to the first third. Also the proliferation of state and local sales taxes, income taxes, wages taxes, etc that came about in the 60s and 70s took a big bite out of buying power.

Charles Ellis
July 16, 2010, 04:45 PM
I remember the 50's and the prices.I didn't have any money then either.What I really liked was the cartoon on page 69 that shows the tricked out rifle.Some things never change.

July 16, 2010, 04:54 PM
What I really liked was the cartoon on page 69 that shows the tricked out rifle.Some things never change.

Yep - that, along with the "Will Colt Come Back?" teaser on the front cover remind you that nothing really changes.