The Purchase

Clare Briggs

Clare Briggs

Clare Briggs is a famous cartoonist who lived from 1875 to 1930. Poems by Wilbur Nesbitt.

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2 Responses

  1. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    Just for fun, I plugged this into an inflation calculator here.

    33 cents in 1916 (I am guessing from the ’16 on the cartoon it was drawn in that year) would be equivalent to almost $8 today. Granted, I don’t know how sugar prices have fluctuated vs. general inflation, but $8 is a pretty nice box of the typical candy sold at groceries or drugstores (think Russel Stover)Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      33 cents seems like a lot. Just googling around a bit, penny candies were a thing in 1916: “‘Penny candy’ encompassed a broad range of confection. Established and large-scale manufacturers who produced many higher priced goods also sold bulk candies designed to appeal to children and to be sold so many pieces to the penny. These might included molded hard or soft candies, suckers, licorice in all sorts of shapes, marshmallows, or caramels, and would be distributed by ‘jobbers’ to various retail stores. At the other extreme, such penny candies might also be manufactured by hand in small ‘candy kitchens’ and sold in local shops or from street carts. The conditions of manufacture, and the quality of ingredients, might therefore vary significantly. Especially at the lower rungs of the trade, ‘adulterants’ such as artificial dyes and non-food fillers were occasionally used to make candy look more appealing or to lower the price of production.”

      The bulk of this piece is about the panic that emerged from a 1916 polio epidemic, which resulted in wrapping of candies on which brands could be promoted.