This past weekend at my cottage in Minaki, Ontario, Canada, I came across a November 1956 edition. National Geographic. The thing I found most interesting was not the article but the advertisement.

I’ll highlight two.

The first one is in the picture above. This copyflex machine makes up to 300 copies per hour. That’s 5 per minute. And the price is “only” $498.50. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $5,430.55 today. Need I say more?

The second is advertising long distance phone calls across the Atlantic. The fine print states that the “day rate for the first three minutes from anywhere in the United States is $12, not including 10% federal excise tax.” $12 would be $130.73 today.

There was an ad that made me miss the good old days. It was for a beautiful Lincoln. I’m sure it was a considerably worse car than it is today, so my general point in the title holds. But car companies can’t legally build cars with the beautiful lines of the 1957 Lincoln or, if they do, they’ll have to pay a huge CAFE fine. Regulators are more involved in many aspects of the car than they were then. Without that rule, our cars would be better than 1957 and, in many ways, better than 2022 cars, and there would be a lot more variety in car shapes.


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