Query: 1913 "steams"

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Nov 10 13:16:14 UTC 2001

>    "They're going to charge only $200 a seat at the big polo match at
>Newport, which shows that sport to be an extremely cheap one.  The
>purchasing power of $200 is only 4000 'steams'."
>(in:  _San Francisco Bulletin_, March 29, 1913, p.27; "Sporting
>Tit-Bits by 'Mac'", an eclectic sports column. The above brief quote
>is the entire item)
>--- If $200 is equated with 4000 "steams," a single  "steam" would be
>a nickel. But this meaning of "steam" is apparently not attested in
>the dictionaries, and is the quote in fact equating $200 and 4000
>nickels? And if it is, how did "steams" get this meaning?

I read this as "$200 will buy 4000 'steams'". Last time I was in San
Francisco I drank several [Anchor] Steams at $2.00 and up, but probably
this or another brand of steam beer was available for five cents in 1913.

See for example

-- Doug Wilson

More information about the Ads-l mailing list