This feature is actually from January 25th but definitely worth stepping back a day to mention. As you examine the picture below, notice the decor, the furnishings, the dress, the intensiveness by which the sewing tasks are being done. This is early 20th century and one account reports that in 1900 a dollar was worth about a dollar, much the same as today a dollar is still worth a dollar. In terms of inflation, however, a 1900s dollar would be comparable to about 100 dollars today.
Mrs. Battaglia, Tessie (age - 12 years), Tony (age - 7 years), 170 Mulberry St. Rear house, 5th floor. Garment workers. Husband crippled by a fall, tends to basement. Mrs. Battaglia works in shop except Saturdays, when the children sew with her at home. Get 2 or 3 cents a pair finishing men’s pants. Said they earn $1 to $1.50 on Saturday. Father disabled and can earn very little. New York. 01/25/1908American Economy in the Early Twentieth Century
[From the series National Child Labor Committee Photographs taken by Lewis Hine]
The only way to earn a decent living was to migrate to the city, where food existed and the pay was somewhat adequate. Farmers suffered the most and became the "Third Estate" mule of sorts to the industrial juggernauts. Power, corruption, and greed abounded in the upper levels of society, as class division became a visible problem between the rich and poor. These new economic factors astonished the American public, and represented a change from Jefferson's old concept of the rural farmer to Hamilton's more modern vision of an urban factory workforce.
Food for thought...
“Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair.” — Sam Ewing