14 thoughts on “N Lombard Street, circa 1932

  1. I read something years ago that 49 pounds was the predetermined standard maximum weight one could attain from one bushel of wheat. (Though I would think different types of wheat would yield different weights once milled?)

  2. N lombard, Portsmouth grocery. This same store was there through the 40s and 50s. During WWII, it was owned by Japanese family, they were beloved by the whole neighborhood. My mother always shopped there, at the bakery and meat market next door.

  3. Flour shipped in wooden barrels, flour was the product most often shipped in these barrels, the early mass produced bags were sized by the system used for wooden barrels, one barrel of flour weighed 196 lbs. of flour, a quarter barrel was 49 lbs.

  4. Actually, if you do the math, that $1.19 bag of flour is equivalent to $17 today. You can purchase 50 lbs today for $16.

    I am actually a little surprised it was not MORE expensive given the high costs and inefficiencies of the supply chain. A&P was largely responsible for the current grocery environment where prices are cheaper than ever.

  5. Why do they emphasize “cash” in their store name? It would seem that they wouldn’t advertise the fact that they *only* take cash, so that must have been some sort of feature. What was the importance?

  6. My guess on the cash only designation (and It’s only a guess) was that stores probably couldn’t afford to run credit during the depression.

  7. For a good read try “My-Te-Fine Merchant” by Fred Leeson. It’s the biography of Fred Meyer. His real name was Fred Grubmeyer.

  8. Kitten Corbusier, how do you figure, $1.19 divided by 49 results in .024 or possibly 3 cents a pound, much less than today.

  9. Joan: You wrote: “This same store was there through the 40s and 50s. During WWII, it was owned by Japanese family, they were beloved by the whole neighborhood.” As far as I know, all people of Japanese descent in Portland were interned during WW2.

  10. Re: the cost of flour comments, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 1.19 in 1932 is 20.94 in 2016. That’s .42 cents per pound in today’s dollars. The BLS lists ‘all purpose flour’ retail prices at .529 cents per pound in July 2016, so it looks like it was a little cheaper in 1932.

    Interestingly, as far back as you can see at the BLS website (1980) flour was cheaper than in 1932 until early 2008 when the average price shot up to over .50 cents per pound and has remained relatively steady there the last 8.5 years.

    Portland specifically could be different of course. The average price of a pound of potatoes in the US was about .63 cents last month, so Portland would appear to be cheaper than the average there. I don’t know enough about flour production to make an educated guess on whether we’d get it cheaper than average as well though.

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