In researching the Long history of our company, we came across the amount invested by Mr. R.H. Long and three investors from Belchertown, MA in creating the R.H. Long Shoe Manufacturing Company. The year was 1895. The amount invested by each person was $10,000. This has become the subject of quite a few conversations here. We know it was a lot of money for back then (it's a lot of money now), but how much does that translate to today? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? The answer might surprise you.

After some research, we found numbers ranging from $276,000 to over $9 million. Why? Well it has to do with the many different factors you can base your calculations on.

CPI (Consumer Price Index, see below) gives us the lowest number, $276,000. Think of this as being money in the bank. If your savings habits and standard of living in 1895 and 2012 were comparable then your account balance would be $10,000/$276,000 respectively.

GDP (Gross Domestic Product, see below) gives us the top number of $9,670,000. This measures the amount of money you have in relation to the total output of the country. Think of this number as being, not quite 'money in the bank' but more like the amount of economic power, influence or importance to society as a whole.

Other calculations of interest are Labor Costs, especially since we are discussing a manufacturing company. There the number fluctuates as well, from $1,260,000 (unskilled labor) to $2,170,000 (skilled production workers).

Whichever number you choose to calculate with, multiply by four (remember Mr. Long and his three Belchertown partners). Which calculation do you think better represents the R.H. Long Shoe Manufacturing Company investors? Do you think they considered their $10,000 as a strict dollar amount, the cost of labor, what they could afford to buy, or what they would achieve with it? No matter your decision, the results are truly impressive.

"The real price of every thing, what every thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it... But though labour be the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities, it is not that by which their value is commonly estimated... Every commodity, besides, is more frequently exchanged for, and thereby compared with, other commodities than with labour." - Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

Consumer Price Index:

(CPI) in any year is the cost in that year of a bundle of goods and services purchased by a typical urban consumer compared to the cost of that bundle of goods and services in a base period.

A narrow measure of inflation, confined to consumer goods and services. For this series, the base period is the 1982-84 annual average.

Gross Domestic Product:

(GDP) is a measure of the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country during a year. In the United States, the current annual GDP is about 14 trillion dollars, meaning that amount is spent on U.S output in one year.

Four general groups are buying what is produced.
Households:  70%           Business: 15%
Government: 19%           Export: 12%

This adds up to more than 100 percent, because approx. 17% of U.S. spending on goods and services are produced overseas as of 2011.


*The information above is a humble attempt at explaining and an honest interest in understanding the history of our company. A bibliography is available upon request and will be published and the end of the series of Long History entries. Errors are unintentional, calculations are approximate and we ask that any corrections, suggestions, requests or additional information be emailed to Sara at We appreciate your interest.

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