York County’s Fabulous Fifties – or Not?
50 years ago, you could buy a three, five, seven, or nine-piece chrome or wrought-iron dinette set at York Supply Company, 43-45 West Market Street, starting at $39 to $50 for the set.
While you were there, you might as well equip your laundry with a Speed Queen wringer washer. It came with a laundry cabinet, double laundry tubs, 100 ft. of clothes line, clothes pins, and 20 boxes of Tide, all for $100. Thus equipped, the happy housewife could turn out seven full loads per hour.
King’s Factory Showroom, just down the street at 113 West Market, had men’s zipper-fly dungarees, size 28 to 42 on sale for two for $3. They were probably fun to put through that wringer on the washer.
Across the street
The Bon-Ton advertised their big Fall Festival Sale. To entice customers, ashtrays would be given away and a drawing held for $500. Children’s car coats were on sale for $5.97 from $6.98. Full-fashioned women’s orlon sweaters could be had for $3.97 for slip-on short-sleeve or $5.97 for long-sleeve cardigans, a mark-down of $2.01 on each. The sale started at noon with inbound buses being free from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. I guess you had to be sure to save enough bus fare to get you back home.
At Food Fair round roast was $.79 a pound. The A&P advertised genuine Rock Cornish hens for $.69 cents each with “every bird not less than one pound.” (It makes you wonder how you would pass off a fake Rock Cornish hen – fat pigeons?) Weis Markets touted stewing-size Chesapeake Bay oysters for $.99 a pint can.
Before we get too nostalgic, we should think about wages. There were few want ads in the York Gazette, and most of those that appeared didn’t list salaries. One posted by Marks Personnel Service, 44 West Market, listed receptionist and typist positions to $50 a week, general office and bookkeepers to $60, secretaries and stenographers to $70, and sales to $100 a week. Those salaries were obviously at the high end of the range, and employment agencies in those days requested a relatively hefty fee. Kind of puts the prices in perspective.