The Average New Car Cost $814 & Other Fascinating Factoids From 1924

In 1924, 3,650,000 Cars Were Produced In The USA Costing An Average of $814

10 Factoids From The New York Merchants’ Association

A typical fact filled issue of the Greater New York Bulletin of the Merchants’ Association of New York The February 16, 1925

The defunct weekly trade magazine Greater New York – Bulletin of the New York Merchants’ Association contains news and articles related to business affairs. The Bulletin did not just limit themselves to New York related items, but highlighted national and international stories.

Paging through the 1925 issues of the magazine, I found beneath the feature articles some very interesting two and three line factoids concerning statistics from previous years.

Here are 10 of these factoids with headlines reprinted verbatim, with my comments below them in blue.

1- Use of Telephones
The City of New York contains more telephones than all of South America, Africa and Oceania combined. Within this area lie the great English speaking commonwealths of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and the rapidly growing republics of Brazil, Argentina and Chile. There, too, lie great cities, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Capetown, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland.

Verizon abandoned their copper lines in New York City a few years ago. How many years before there are no landline telephones, just cellular phones?

2- Nine Big Incomes
Only nine persons reported net incomes of $3,000,000 or greater for 1922, and four of these reported that their net incomes were greater than $5,000,000. Two of these in the 5,000,000 class lived in Michigan, one in New York and one in New Jersey.

Hmmm. Michigan? Calling Mr. Henry Ford? By contrast according to the IRS, in 2012, the top 400 earners in the USA reported average income of $335.7 million.

3- More Money For Toys
The year 1924 has been the biggest for American toy manufacturers in three years, and the pre-war sales have been doubled. The toy expense per family has increased notably in the last few years and approximately $125,000,000 is spent annually in this country for children’s playthings.

Do kids still play with actual toys today? Or is it all spent on consumer electronics to addict, desensitize and control the little tykes minds?

4- Meat-Eating Record
The estimates of the United States Department of Agriculture that the average yearly meat bill per person is made up of 61 pounds of beef, 7 pounds of veal, 5 pounds of mutton and lamb, and 76 pounds of pork. The total is 149 pounds. The 1922 total consumption of meat was over 16 1/3 billion pounds, the highest in history for any country.

Data to make a vegetarian’s stomach turn.

5- Billions in Life Insurance
There is $64,000,000,000 worth of life insurance outstanding in the United States according to the records of forty-five companies doing 81 percent of the total business.

The insurance industry has always been legerdemain obfuscated in confusing legalese. Read The Invisible Bankers by Andrew Tobias to understand how they work their magic.

6- Uncle Sam Paying Up
The United States reduced its public debt last year (1924) by $935,434,706.

What an incredible notion! Paying what you owe and working down debt. Today, since the dollar is backed by nothing and we are printing valueless paper, we seem to have given up the reduction effort and have been going  in reverse for some time now. If left uncorrected we’re headed for a major fiscal calamity to the delight of communists.

7- Factory Workers
One out of every eleven persons in the United States works in a factory.

Yes, we actually used to make things in the USA. And it was not considered a shameful or degrading thing to be a factory worker.

8- Protecting The Landscape
More than fifty organizations , twelve of national scope, are cooperating to reduce rural signboard advertising through out the country. Committees are actively at work in fourteen different states.

Judging by the outcome 100 years later, they didn’t do too well, did they?

9- What Motor Cars Cost
The average retail price of the 3,650,000 automobiles produced in the United States in 1924 was estimated at $814, and 1,300,000 of them were closed cars.

It’s surprising there were that many open cars still being produced. Incredibly fewer automobiles are made now than then. Pre-pandemic only 2,511,200 automobiles were produced domestically in 2019 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

10 – Federal Employees Number 544,000
The number of civil service employees in the Government service decreased 4,000 during the last fiscal year according to the United States Civil Service Commission. There were 544,671 persons on the rolls on June 30, 1924 of which 296,481 were in the postal service. The figures were compared with Armistice Day, 1918 when 917,760 civil service employees were carried.

There are over 2,100,000 civil service employees today. The postal service has 496,934 career employees plus 136,174 non-career employees. Even with population increases – can you say “bloated?”

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