Smithsonian’s Around the Mall blog recently dug up an awesome FAO Schwarz catalogue from 1911, found over at the Internet Archive. It’s filled with some pretty fantastic toys, including airship-themed board games, Kodak cameras, and carriages led by sheep. But these gifts didn’t come cheap.
Even the board games were expensive. That airship-themed game (complete with metal airships) “A Voyage Through The Clouds” would set you back $US2.50, or about $US60 adjusted for inflation. The automobile-themed game was just a quarter less.
Below we’ve pulled a few highlights from the catalogue. But if you ever find yourself time travelling to 1911 looking or some neat toys, don’t forget to bring plenty of cash.
These toy automobiles cost the people of 1911 between $US8 and $US50, or about $US194 to $US1,213 adjusted for inflation.
Automobile Caps and Goggles
Depending on your size, an automobile cap would set you back anywhere from $US0.65 to $US1.25, or about $US15 to $US30 adjusted for inflation.
The automobile googles cost $US0.20, or about $US5 adjusted for inflation.
Submarines and Divers
The pneumatic diver was operated by a tube you could blow in and cost $US1, about $US24 adjusted for inflation. The tin submarine cost between $US1 and $US3, depending on which size you wanted — about $US24 and $US73 respectively, when adjusted for inflation.
This toy train would set you back $US18 (about $US436 adjusted for inflation).
Toy Carriage with Sheep
This cabriolet (or toy carriage) with a sheep doll attached cost between $US8 and $US13.50, or about $US194 and $US328 adjusted for inflation.
These toy aeroplanes cost between $US1.25 all the way up to $US12 for the deluxe monoplane — about $US30 up to $US290 adjusted for inflation.
Eastman Kodak Brownie Cameras
Kodak was instrumental in branding the camera as a tool that anyone could use. Their most basic camera retailed for just $US1 — or about $US24 adjusted for inflation — and helped usher in the age of the snapshot.