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If you have seen many of the articles I post from vintage electronics magazines, you know I often compare prices from the magazine's era to today's prices. The online Inflation Calculator from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is as good as any, so it is used. This RCA advertisement in a 1946 issue of Radio-Craft magazine boasts of how drastically the cost of vacuum tubes has come down since 1923. It claims a \$9 tube in 1923 costs a mere 80¢ in 1946; that is about 1/11th of the original price. Prior to around 1965, inflation was very low, so the inflation-adjusted price for the \$9.00 tube would be \$9.80 in 1946 - a full 23 years later (a 9% increase, per the BLS). Therefore, the 80¢ price is an even better deal. Let us compare that to what a \$9 item 23 years ago (1998) from today (2021) would cost now. Per the BLS Inflation Calculator, it would take \$15.06 in 2021 to purchase what cost \$9.00 in 1998 (a 67% increase). That is probably a shocking statistic to someone not aware of how significant inflation has been. Compared to \$9 of buying power in 1965, it would take \$77.75 (an 764% increase) to buy the same amount today. From 1946 to 1965 the price would only go from \$9.00 to \$14.36 (a 60% increase). See the a historical plot of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from 1913 through 2021 above.

Today - A complete radio set for less than half the cost of the tubes alone in 1923!

Today you can buy a six-tube table model radio for about \$25. A little over twenty years ago the six tubes alone cost \$54 - nine dollars apiece.

Think of it - from \$9 to 80¢. You can buy eleven of these more powerful, longer-lasting radio tubes today for what you used to pay for only one!

This was brought about through RCA's combination of research, engineering skill, manufacturing efficiency and our American philosophy of making something better for less.

Such progress means far more than simply a saving of \$8.20 on every radio tube. It means that radio has been brought within the easy reach of practically everyone in this country.

There are now fifty million more radios in America than there were twenty years ago. Almost everyone depends upon broadcasting in some measure for entertainment, news, education.

Research and pioneering at RCA Laboratories contributed many of the scientific advances that so greatly improved and extended the services of radio to the American people.

Radio Corporation of America, RCA Building, Radio City, New York 20, N. Y .... Listen to The RCA Victor Show, Sundays, 4:30 P.M., Eastern Time, over the NBC Network.

The new 1946 RCA Victor Table Model (56X) costing about \$25. With our civilian production increasing; you can again look to RCA for the finest instruments of their kind that science has yet achieved. The principle of making it better - for less - applies to RCA Victor radios, television sets, Victrola radio-phonographs ... every product bearing the RCA label.

Posted August 30, 2021