Monday, December 05, 2005

1 Paycheck Buys 1 Years Salary In Silver!

A Day's Wage for a Silver Dime:
Fact or Fiction?

David Zurbuchen

This purpose of this article is to examine the veracity of the claim made in the first line of my debut article "Silver: A Rare Opportunity"

First, Some Helpful Conversion Factors, all of which I have made use of in my calculations below:

1 troy ounce = 480 grains
1 troy ounce = 31.1 grams (grams not grains)
1 dollar (the original at least) = 371.25 grains pure silver*
Meaning that $1 was equivalent to 0.77 troy ounces and 23.9 grams
*Coinage Act of 1792 Sec. 9

It is perfectly understandable that those who read that a mere dime used to be equivalent to a day's wage are skeptical of the claim. I certainly was, and that is why I have set out to prove my previous assertion either right, wrong, or somewhere in between.

I may have had a bias when I began this article, but I inevitably had to compromise and submit to historical data rather than the hearsay that I had previously relied upon.

What follows are 4 sources of information, all of which present different wage rates for skilled and unskilled workmen around the year 1900. I have included all the links so that you can easily verify the information, together with my calculations.

First Source(s):
(See section E248-267)
Both sources confirm that the average wage of an American in 1900 was around $.22/hour, or in other words, about $2/day.

Second Source: