A PENNY’S WORTH (Mar, 1948)


A penny’s not a lot of money, but you’ll be surprised at how much of some things it will buy.

A penny buys 20 pages of big city newspaper. providing several hours of reading material.

A penny’s worth of gas will drive a two-ton automobile with four people about 4,000 feet.

A penny will buy over seven hours of radio entertainment by top-price big-name performers.

A penny will buy enough gas to fry an egg for each of 72 persons, doing them four at a time.

A penny will move a one-ton shipment of merchandise by air express nearly a hundred feet.

A penny stamp will deliver a card across the United States and over the Pacific to Guam.

A penny will buy 50 gallons of tested, healthful water, delivered by pipe into your home.

A penny will buy enough current to illuminate a room (60-watt bulb) for four full nights.

  1. Firebrand38 says: November 23, 20091:49 pm

    I just figured out that a 25 page daily edition of the New York Times going for two bucks means a penny buys 1/8th of a page(or it costs 8 cents a page).

    One satellite companies $42.99 a month Top 200 package is 42.99 a month. That means a penny buys you 10 minutes of TV entertainment by over priced over rated performers (sorry couldn’t resist) but it’s apples and oranges. The article was referring to the cost of electricity to run the radio and I didn’t include that in my cipherin’.

    Anyone else?

  2. Charlene says: November 23, 20094:44 pm

    My cable internet is $44.99 a month Canadian, which works out roughly to one cent for every ten minutes of access (which in my opinion is a much better value than ten minutes of TV entertainment).

  3. Toronto says: November 23, 20095:03 pm

    Is the New York Times really only 25 pages?

    That gas is about $0.15 per gallon – tops (figuring 20 mpg.) I bet my 500cc Cooper I’m picking up from that other article would be even more thrifty.

    Electricity at 1/3 to 1/2 cent per kwh. Ouch.

  4. Charlene says: November 23, 20095:10 pm

    My electricity rate is 6.25 cents per kwh, so about 12 times the rate Toronto’s calculated for that time period. That would mean I’d get half an hour of radio entertainment for a penny if the radio used the same amount of electricity, which is likely since I have a 1934 radio.

  5. Firebrand38 says: November 23, 20095:15 pm

    Toronto: Daily edition. I didn’t factor in the Sunday edition just to keep things simple.

  6. Toronto says: November 23, 20096:41 pm

    The Toronto Star’s front section alone runs 32 pages or more, and 12 sections isn’t unusual any more. Naturally, that’s 60% ads and 30% whining about the Leafs/Raptors/Jays, depending on the time of year. (They seem to have dropped whining about the Argos and the Rock.)

  7. carlm says: November 24, 20093:52 am

    Consider that. on average, things cost about 10.1 times what they cost in 1948. Gas cost about 25 cents a gallon. A house was about $17,000. Just change that penny to a dime.

  8. Rick Auricchio says: November 25, 20092:34 pm

    Charlene, my electricity costs between 25c and 30c per kwh, depending on the season and my total use. Ouch!

  9. George says: November 27, 200910:19 am

    Today a penny will buy 4 million bytes of flash memory (8Gb on sale for $20 at Wal-Mart). That’s about 1000 typed pages or 4 minutes of MP3 music. While 4 minutes isn’t all that much, in 1948 a $1.00 78-RPM record ran maybe 6 minutes total, so a penny bought you only 4 seconds of tunes.

  10. jayessell says: November 27, 200912:40 pm

    Good call George, but add $0.99 in 2009 money for one iTunes download.

  11. DJK0219 says: July 30, 20128:24 pm

    I cannot believe how wrong this is. A penny’s worth of gas will get me 4,000 feet? One mile is 5,280 feet. Therefore, I’d need just over a penny’s worth of gas to go one mile. Granted, I get about 15 miles to the gallon, but I’ve yet to see gas for under 50 cents a gallon.

  12. JMyint says: July 31, 20121:34 pm

    DJK0219 In 1948 gasoline was $.26 (about $2.48 today) and the average car got around 19 mpg. So 4000 feet is pretty close.

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