What could accept acquired shoppers to army about the access to a city Chattanooga adornment abundance in November 1953?
Well, it’s adamantine to apperceive absolutely back there is no almanac of this Chattanooga Free Press agents photo absolutely actualization in the newspaper. Consequently, no explanation exists to definitively break the mystery.
But, here’s a guess.
On Nov. 6, 1953, the aforementioned ages this photo was taken, LeGrand Adornment Co. at 604 Market St. bought a ample affectation advertisement in the Chattanooga Free Press with account so agitative that it appropriate two assertion points.
“LeGrand Astounds Chattanooga!” the ad’s banderole read. “Sale of Admirable Silver!”
And, indeed, this army looks awful motivated — or at atomic aflame abundant to band up above-mentioned to the store’s opening. Let’s achievement the missing babyish adumbrated in this photo — agenda the abandoned adventurer — is in its mother’s accoutrements about in the huddle.
Why would shoppers go ga-ga over soup spoons and adulate knives? Well, a little celebrated ambience ability be instructive. In the mid-20th century, owning admirable argent flatware was aspirational for the average class, array of like quartz countertops today. It was the crumbling years of a silver-focused accouterments trend that had lasted about a century.
Launched by history enthusiast Sam Hall in 2014, ChattanoogaHistory.com is maintained to present actual images in the accomplished resolution available.
If you accept photo negatives, bottle bowl negatives, or aboriginal non‐digital prints taken in the Chattanooga area, acquaintance Sam Hall for advice on how they may authorize to be digitized and preserved at no charge.
By the 1950s the amount of argent was on the acceleration and auction prices on admirable argent pieces were rare. In fact, the 1953 bi-weekly ad additionally trumpeted: “Buy the admirable argent you accept consistently capital at an amazingly low price. First time anytime offered on sale.”
Indeed, the approved amount of a distinct admirable argent abode ambience at LeGrand Adornment Co. — the forerunner of Zales Adornment actuality — was $27. In 1953, meanwhile, the federal minimum allowance in the United States was 75 cents per hour, authoritative the amount about a week’s accomplishment at entry-level pay.
The auction was alms the aforementioned $27 abode ambience for $19.99. That included a teaspoon, bologna knife, bologna fork, bloom fork, soup beanery and adulate spreader. Meanwhile a complete set of six admirable argent abode settings could be had for $99.99 during the sale, bottomward from a accustomed amount of $135.
Sterling argent flatware was so accepted in 1953 that some Chattanooga families were “registered” at bounded adornment food so accompany could buy them distinct forks and spoons as gifts. Soon, though, tastes afflicted and consumers drifted to flatware that was cheaper and easier to apple-pie than admirable silver, which independent 92.5 percent authentic argent and 7.5 percent chestnut alloy.
At the time of this photo, LeGrand Adornment Co. was amid adjoining to the city J.C. Penney administration abundance in the 600 block of Market Street. Additionally on that block were the old State Theater and Kay Jewelry. That block today is active by the Hamilton County Courts Building and the United Way of Greater Chattanooga offices.
Later in the 1950s, a few years afterwards this photo was made, LeGrand Adornment Company became Zales-LeGrand Adornment Company, and by the 1960s artlessly Zales. Later, Zales stores, allotment of a civic retail chain, became all-over in Chattanooga breadth malls.
This photo is allotment of the Chattanooga Free Press accumulating of images at ChattanoogaHistory.com, a website curated by history addict Sam Hall. Follow the “Remember When, Chattanooga” accessible accumulation on Facebook.
Contact Mark Kennedy at [email protected]
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