The price of the quarter of wheat & wages of labour by the week
England/Great Britain/United Kingdom, 1200 — 1860
This is Playfair's chart where he addressed the question whether the price of wheat had increased relative to wages. Three parallel time-series are plotted: prices, wages and the reigns of kings and queens.
I've extended the time-period of the original and have added some historic event annotations to see if there is any obvious effect on the prices or wages. Specific points-in-time events are below the x-axis represented by markers, whereas longer timespan events are represented by the shaded areas on the chart, hover over them to view the details.
The wages are based on the weekly wage of a Craftsman, which is the closest set of data I could find to Playfair's original, where he used the weekly wage of a Good Mechanic.
I tried to clean up the original by using a white grid. The grid-lines are still visible through the bars, but overall noise is reduced. This is a technique described later in the book to maximise data-ink.
- Wheat prices courtesy of Clark, G. (2004), "The Price History Of English Agriculture, 1209 — 1914", Research in Economic History (Research in Economic History, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 41-123. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0363-3268(04)22002-X
- Wages data courtesy of Clark, G. (2005), "The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209 — 2004", Journal of Political Economy 113(6), The University of Chicago Press Journals. https://doi.org/10.1086/498123
- D3 annotations courtesy of Susie Lu
- Download the datasets: wheat prices, wages