Most of us have seen or heard the commercials for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes in which “Tony the Tiger” declares that “They’re GR-R-REAT!” But, did you know those ads first began airing on TV in 1952?
How about the phrase….”the greatest thing since sliced bread?” The famous comedian, Red Skelton, first used it in a 1952 interview when asked about his thoughts on the impact of TV’s in our homes by replying “Don’t worry about television. It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
Well, 1952 was a great year for another reason too. In a tiny factory with 5 employees, J. Reese Phifer began weaving aluminum screen when his first 5 Mummert-Dixon bar looms arrived that October. We thought it would be interesting to take a look back 70 years ago to see what he and his team experienced that year!
Working for an average wage of about $4,000/year, if they bought a house, the average price of one was $9,000. If they rented an apartment, they paid $80/month. Buying a new car cost about $1,700 and gas to fill it up was $0.20/gallon. When they shopped for groceries, a pound of ground beef or bacon cost about $0.53, a dozen eggs were $0.25, a loaf of bread (sliced of course!) was $0.16 and a gallon of milk was $1.00.
When Mr. Phifer traveled to sell screening to hardware stores and window manufacturers, he could have likely stayed in a Holiday Inn (opened their first motel in 1952) or eaten at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant, the largest chain in the U.S. that year with +350 locations. When he mailed letters to customers and prospects, a $.03 stamp was the going rate for postage.
Other interesting trivia about 1952:
Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected President of the 48 U.S.A. states. Alaska and Hawaii would be added 7 years later in 1959.
The U.S. population was 156 million, less than half of what it is today. The world’s population was 2.7 billion, about 1/3 of today’s 7.6 billion.
I Love Lucy was the #1 rated TV Show, and Mr. Potato Head hit the market becoming the first toy advertised on television.
If you wanted to cook outside in 1952, you were in luck! Weber grills were introduced.
As we celebrate our 70 years of history this year, we look back and thank all of the Phifer women and men, customers and partners who contributed to the growth and success that we enjoy today!
If you want to learn more about our history, click here. We’re looking forward to another 70 years and wondering what a dozen eggs will cost in 2092!