navigation bar Houghton Mifflin Social Studies Neighborhoods
Primary Sources logo Primary Sources

An Old Price List—Artifact

Can you buy a meal for one cent? The price list below shows that people in New York City could buy meals for one cent about 100 years ago.

Primary Source

There is a late 1800s image of a price list for the St. Andrew's One Cent Coffee Stands

Source: Library of Congress.


The price list above is called an artifact because it is an object made by people. When people study this artifact, they can learn about prices and products in the past. This price list is from St. Andrew’s One Cent Coffee Stands. The list shows that there were eight St. Andrew’s One Cent Coffee Stands in New York City. The eighth one is handwritten in pen.

The coffee stands served factory workers in New York City. Many Americans began working in city factories about 100 years ago. Immigrants from other countries came to the United States and worked in city factories, too. Often these factory workers did not have time to prepare hot meals for their families. They did not make much money in the factories, but they needed a quick, inexpensive place to eat good food. The St. Andrew’s One Cent Coffee Stands helped workers feed themselves and their families.