Much cheaper in a few years

One of the projects I'm currently working on involves wading through the approximately 13000 letters in the Breithaupt Hewetson Clark collection. Earlier this week, I came across this hard-to-believe letter from Constance Perrin to H. Spencer Clark, in which she discusses her upcoming trip to Europe and the price of long-distance phone calls.

First page of letter from Constance Perrin to Spencer Clark

Yes, that says "3 minutes for $75". According to the Bank of Canada's inflation calculator, $75 in 1927 was equivalent to $1073.33 now. At least she was correct in her prediction that prices would go down!

Like me, you may be wondering whether she's exaggerating, or perhaps whether she made a typo. Apparently not. Think about that the next time you grouse about your phone bill!

Incidentally, the first successful transatlantic cable wasn't built until the 1950s, so early transatlantic telephone calls were via radio. That certainly helps explain her otherwise-abrupt change of topic from Spencer playing with radios as a boy to saving up to make a call!

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