First, I must apologise. I realise that this is an incredibly loaded question, bound to have as many answers as beaches have grains of sand. But hear me out.
I'm a member of a local pen-collector's club. Mostly, we play around with, share, show-and-tell, and talk about writing instruments. Mostly vintage fountain pens, writing paraphernalia, antiques and other nicknacks.
I was kinda talked into, by a friend, giving a presentation to the members at this month's gathering.
After a bit of thinking, I decided to research, write, and present a Social History of the Fountain Pen.
The fountain pen was most prominent in the years from the 1890s up to the 1950s. I'll be covering the years from about 1890-1945, what most of us consider the "Golden Age" of the fountain pen.
Okay, so what does all this have to do with wages, you ask?
Fountain pens were relatively expensive items (and even are today). They cost anywhere from $2 up to as much as $10 in 1915, and anywhere from $4-$20 during the '20s and '30s.
What I want to know is, what was the average wage of a typical working man during this time? Say, a family man with a wife and kids who led a fairly stable middle-class lifestyle, like what most of us would be used to?
I realise this is a very difficult question to answer, and I apologise for that, but I figured it was something that I'd need to know, to put the prices of pens into perspective. I've already started looking for the prices of other common consumer-goods of the era to compare them to (watches, cars, sewing-machines, fridges, radios, etc etc etc), but I'd like to have an idea of what the average man...or woman, for that matter, earned during the period ca. 1900-1945.
I've no idea where I'd look for this information online, so I hope you don't mind me picking the brains of my fellow loungers.