1. How did the Depression affect the economy of Dalton?
Dalton was one of the very few towns in Georgia that was not as badly affected by the Depression, because the bedspreads continued to be popular and brought money into the town.
2. An average bedspread might take 2½ – 5 hours to tuft by hand, and the women would receive up to 25 cents for each bedspread. Figure the tufters' hourly wage. How much would a tufter receive at the New Deal wage of 32½ cents per hour? What would the labor cost be at today's minimum wage rate? If labor is only about 50% of the final cost of any product, how much would a new hand-tufted bedspread sell for today?
The pre-New Deal-waged tufters made between 5 and 10 cents an hour. At 32½ cents an hour a tufter would make between 81 cents and $1.63 per spread. Answers to the other questions will vary depending upon inflation and the minimum wage rate at the time the question is posed.
3. How did the invention of tufting machines change Dalton's bedspread industry?
The development of machinery for tufting brought more men into the industry (machines being thought of as a man's area), and hastened the change from a cottage industry (where the work was done in individual homes) to one in which the work was done in a centralized factory setting. It also led to the development of "chenille."