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Excerpt from Movement of Prices, 1840-1901: From Sauerbeck's Tables, London Economist, Reports of the U. S. Senate and of the Department of Labor on Prices
The series of tables contained in this document is a continuation of the tables published in the Summary of Commerce and Finance, May, 1900. Two changes have been made to which attention is called, namely, (1) the addition of a series of tables of prices of farm products, and (2) the omission of certain tables of prices of articles whose relative importance has greatly diminished or whose place in the market has been taken by other grades of the same general class, thus making it necessary in some cases to discard the purpose of securing continuous quotations for that particular grade of commodity. In other cases, where continuity in quotations has been deemed important, any change in the grade to which quotations apply has been plainly indicated, so as to avoid any possibility of misleading.
The quotations of wholesale prices in the United States as they appear in these tables are, in most cases, reproduced from the results of the extensive inquiry made by the Aldrich committee and subsequent inquiries made by the Department of Labor. The first of these results is generally known as the Aldrich Report on Wholesale Prices, Wages, and Transportation, as submitted by Mr. Aldrich from the Senate Committee on Finance, March 3, 1893. This report covered the period from 1840 to 1891, and comprised 223 quotations of different articles and grades, derived in a great majority of cases from records of actual sales by firms in existence during all or most of that period.
The later inquiries by the Department of Labor covered the period from 1890 to 1901, inclusive, continuing, as a rule, the same general classes of articles represented in the Aldrich report, but adding some quotations for farm products. With this addition the same general series was brought down to the end of 1901. These results appeared in detail in Bulletin N o. 27, March, 1900, and in Bulletin N o. 39, March, 1902, of the Department of Labor.
Information derived from other sources than the Aldrich report or the bulletins of the Department of Labor is credited in footnotes to the proper authorities. This applies especially to cases in which prices have been brought down to a later date than October, 1901, the latest quotations given by the Department of Labor. For information as to the sources of data from which prices for the years prior to 1891 were obtained, reference should be made to Part II, Table XI, Wholesale Prices of Commodities for Fifty-two Years, in Volume II of the Aldrich report, also known as Senate Report N o. 1394, Part 2, 1893.
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