Historical Museum

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Historical Museum

Located in La Conner
"Come to the top of the hill for a spectacular view of Skagit County history"

Wages of Workers in 1900

As towns and cities grew in 1900, so did the variety of jobs. Men still were major the breadwinners and worked as professionals, public sector workers or as laborers. Only teaching and clerical work were acceptable for women and they earned about half of what men made. Teachers taught only 4-5 months out of the year. About 7% of all wives worked outside the home.

Although wages from this period seem very low, its important to remember what things cost in that time and place. Housing took most of a workers money in a city. A 2 or 3 room apartment with a coal stove in a tenement could rent from $4-7 per month to $8-10 per month. It had no bath or toilet. Housing in a better neighborhood could cost $25-60 per month. Loggers or miners lived in camps and had their food come out of their wages.

Laborers worked long hours. Loggers often put in sixteen-hour days. Other occupations worked sixty hours a week regularly.

Below is a list of wages from a variety of jobs in 1900. Find out what people earned, then go look at the product ads from the same year.

Job Title (Skilled)

Wage by the hour

Gender

Bricklayer

46-50 cents per hour

man

Hod carrier

25-48 cents per hour

man

Construction laborer

17-60 cents per hour

man

Plasterers

44-50 cents per hour

man

Boiler makers

27-54 cents per hour

man

Foundry laborers

16-56 cents per hour

man

Machine woodworkers

25-54 cents per hour

man

Newspaper compositors

36-54 cents per hour

man



Job Title (Public jobs)

Wage by the year

Gender

Janitor

$720
man

Janitor

$540
woman

Coal passers

$720-780
man

Firefighters

$840-1,134
man

Patrolmen

$1,000
man
Police matron
$720
woman

Laborers

$600
man

Stenographer

$900
woman

Male clerks

$900-1200
man

Mayor

$10,000
man

Department heads

$3,000-6,000
man

Middle class jobs: assistant, chief clerks, Lawyers, police and fire supervisors

$1200-3000 
man