Glancing Back: Saving Labor

February 16, 2001
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1928 Not Yet Eating Bon-Bons

An estimate made by Electrical Merchandising and written about in the Feb. 15, 1928 News said that at that time, of homes that were wired for electricity, 4.3% had electric refrigerators. (The electric refrigerator became available shortly before World War I.)

Estimates of other household items of the day included: heaters, 15%; electric ranges, 3%; electric irons, 87%; vacuum cleaners, 39%; and washing machines, 29%.

1954 Thinking A/C When It’s Freezing

Despite the cold and snow, James & Roach Inc., an air conditioning distributor in Detroit, MI, sent out a letter to commercial prospects that one might see being mailed out today. This approach to direct marketing was mentioned in the Feb. 22, 1954 News, which included the letter in article with the headline, “Detroit Distributor Pushes Air Conditioning With Temperature Below Zero.”

The letter itself, under the heading of, “Now is the Time to Buy Air Conditioning,” was published as follows:

“Remember last summer? What a scorcher it was. We couldn’t get enough air conditioning. It will be the same this year. We’ll be rushed all over again.

“But right now while things are quiet, we can offer some real savings on Carrier Weathermaker installations. We have all sizes in stock. We want to keep our engineers and expert installers on the job. Plumbing and wiring costs are lower, too.

“It all makes sense! You’ll get the best air conditioning for less money. You’ll get a better installation at your convenience. You’ll be all set for hot weather.”

1972 It’s One Big Conspiracy

The defendants were charged with “feloniously engaging in an unlawful combination and conspiracy intended to restrain competition in the supply and price of plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment, tools, and supplies.”

As reported in the Feb. 14, 1972 News, authorities alleged that a group held periodic meetings where James J. Barry, former president of the Janesville City Council and executive secretary of the Southern Wisconsin Plumbing and Heating Contractors Assoc-iation, allegedly used a formula to assign bids to the participants. The contracts were offered to certain contractors and that the others either did not bid or else were paid to submit fake bids.

“We cannot tolerate a double standard between white collar crime and street crime. We cannot tolerate hiding behind a business suit to commit a crime against our citizens any more than we can tolerate hiding behind a mask to commit robbery,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Robert Warren and Rock County District Attorney John Sheehan in a joint statement.

Publication date: 02/19/2001

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