Chapter 29

CHAPTER XXIX.

MISCELLANEOUS WAYS OF MAKING MONEY.

Odd Ways of Making Money—Millions for Cents—How to Live Without Paying Rent—X-Rays and X-Bills—Fortunes in Old Iron—Newspapers, Like Wine, Increase in Price With Age—High Price for a Wig—900 per cent. Profit in Old Books—What the “Old Furniture Man” Makes—The Five-cent Millionaire—Profits of Peddlers—Why Pawnbrokers Get Rich.

The ways of making money are as multifarious as the diversity of human industry. Some men earn a fortune, some discover it, some win it, and some marry it. Every year new schemes are developed for the earning of one’s bread. Many of them are unpromising and even startling, and yet all the great industries that to-day pour wealth into the pockets of the capitalists were once derided as the folly of unpractical dreamers. There is not one of the thousand or more methods of making a living in which there is not the possibility of a fortune. The following methods are sufficiently out of the beaten track to be novel to most people, while some of them are absolutely new and untried:

  1. The National Advertising Company.—Form a company of live, energetic, intelligent young men. Ascertain the extent of circulation of some of our literary magazines. For every subscriber and buyer there are at least three readers; some estimate five. Bunch together the circulation of some of the leading periodicals, and when you are sure of a million readers, begin operations. Divide the country up into sections, with a central headquarters, and let one of a pair of your young men work each. One member of the firm remains to control the office. The magazines should be those whose circulation covers the entire country, and the advertisements you seek to gain should not be of a local but of a general character. Then you can work your field, promising that for so many cents per thousand or dollars per million, you will place the advertisements before the eyes of that number of people. Have circulars headed “Millions for Cents.” The power of numbers has a charm for most people, and few advertisers will be able to resist your array of figures.
  2. Free Rent.—Get your rent free on the same plan that some men get a building lot free. Take a large house, which, we will say, costs you $75 per month. Such a house should have at least twelve rooms, six of which should be bedrooms. These rooms should be readily sublet for $3 a week, which, allowing for the fractions over the even weeks in a month, exactly pays your rent. By means of folding-beds you can readily convert some of the remaining six into sleeping rooms. If your family is small, a parlor can be so used.
  3. X-Rays and X-Bills.—The fluoroscope is a new thing. It is a great thing to see the bones of one’s hands, or keys imbedded in two inches of solid wood. You can invent many other ways of making the novelty interesting. People pay to see what is novel. With proper advertising, a really good fluoroscope exhibition should net at least $10 a night.
  4. Golden Sails.—Cleopatra’s barge may not have had golden sails, but if you live along shore, especially near a summer resort, you can turn your sails into gold, and make the wind waft you money by taking parties for an outing on the water. You should get $10 for a party of six; $15 for a party of ten, etc. The requisites are a good boat, made attractive by awning and colored cushions, fishing tackle, bait, etc., and a pleasant, obliging disposition.
  5. Game Preserve.—If you live far inland, you can buy at cheap rates a wild mountain or a large tract of wilderness. Around this construct a high fence and stock your purchase with game. All this will require capital, but you will find ample returns for your investment in the rates which you will charge city sportsmen for a day’s sport. These hunters care little for the money if they can have a good day’s sport. After your game preserve becomes well known, through liberal advertising, $25 a day on your investment during the season, should be a very modest expectation.
  6. The Junk Shop.—One of the things most in demand to-day is iron. This is the iron age. It is displacing brick for building and wood for ships. And yet how much goes to waste! Stoves, pots, kettles, rails, machinery, wagon springs, car wheels, pillars, girders, and a multitude of other forms of this valuable metal go to waste. The junk shop is a mine. Manufacturers will pay you fifty cents per 100 pounds. The fact is not generally known, but many junk dealers have become rich.
  7. Old Newspapers.—Newspapers should not be sold to the ragman until they have been scissored, and perhaps not then. In New York there is a man who makes a business of preserving newspapers. You can get almost any copy of any paper for a number of years back. Copies forty years old bring as high as $20 apiece. A copy twenty years old will bring $4 or $5. Copies more than one year old and less than five sell from fifty cents to one dollar. If salable, every day increases the value of your stock.
  8. The Book Stall.—Where come the books on the street stalls that sell for such marvelously low prices? From the cellars (would-be sellers) of publication houses. These are the books that will not sell at rates profitable to the publishers, and are bought up by the thousand at small rates. Many of them come from the libraries of persons deceased, and from the bookcases of men tired of carting them around in this moving age. Sold at fifteen, twenty or twenty-five cents apiece, there is a large profit in these books, for they are often bought at $10 per thousand—that is, a penny apiece. Profits at ten cents, 900 per cent. Bought at $50 per thousand, you have still 400 per cent. Pretty fair profits indeed! Let us no longer despise the old dealer in second-hand books.
  9. Old Furniture.—Furniture made of the best material brings large prices. Only slightly marred, chairs and other kinds of household furniture often made of costly woods, are stored away as useless in the attic. These could frequently be purchased at very low prices, the owners being glad to get rid of them as an incumbrance. Yet a little money would make them as good as new. Five dollars expended on a chair that originally cost $50 and was repurchased in a dilapidated state for $10; it was sold by the adroit second-hand dealer for $25; and the purchaser considered it an excellent bargain. The dealer’s profit was $10. Time consumed in repair, one day and a half. The man earned $6.66-1/3 per day. Some in the same line have done much better. With competent helpers and with industry in hunting up old furniture, these figures should be trebled and quadrupled.
  10. Public Convenience Room.—Establish it on some prominent thoroughfare. It need not be very large. Suppose the rent to be $25 per month. Let it be understood that for five cents you will furnish materials for correspondence (pen, ink and paper), a writing desk, brushes band lacking for shoes (not the services of a bootblack), a whisk broom, a mirror, the use of a daily paper, a city directory, a large map of the city, information on points of interest concerning the things worth seeing, directions how to reach any part of the city, sofas and easy chairs for resting, and the use of a toilet room. All for five cents! You should have at least 200 patrons a day; receipts, $10. Besides, you could sell stationery, confectionery, cigars, magazines, and many other small articles in common use. The place could advantageously be established in connection with a restaurant. Do you know that some of the largest fortunes have been made from just such five-cent charges. A millionaire street-railroad magnate, being asked recently what his business was, replied: “Oh! just a five-cent business—that’s all.”
  11. General Advice.—Here is something entirely new: Thousands of people want information, but do not know where to get it. Some write to the newspapers, some ask friends. It would be of great advantage if such, persons could consult people who have more time to look into their affairs than a newspaper editor, and who are more disinterested than friends. Let it be known that you will give tips on horse races, inside information about stock, points about the purchase of real estate, advice about law matters, suggestions about the investment of money, or any other information that may be required. Have on hand a stock of dictionaries, gazetteers, directories, encyclopedias, and world books of general information. You may charge ten cents for a simple consultation of five minutes. You can give a great deal of information in five minutes, if your questioner knows how to ask and you how to answer. Fifteen cents for ten minutes, twenty-five cents for twenty minutes, thirty-five cents for an half hour, and half a dollar for an hour. This business might be combined with the Public Convenience Room in the last number.
  12. Language Classes.—Here is one on a new plan. A French teacher has hit upon the idea of combining work and play in a novel manner. The classes form a club, which meets as in progressive euchre. The game is played after the old style of authors. Upon blank white cards are written the words to be used in sentences at the table. One table has cards containing the names of clothing, another of furniture, and so on. The players remain a certain length of time at each table, and then pass to the next, each player visiting every table during the session of the club. Afterward light refreshments are served by the teacher, and the subjects announced for the next meeting. The idea is a taking one, and capable of great elaboration. An up-to-date teacher ought to have immense success with this plan.
  13. Business Opportunities.—The business opportunities advertised in a single New York paper average 25 a day, 200 on Sunday, or about 17,500 a year. One man claims that $10,000 can be realized in two weeks by the opportune venture of $1,000 in real estate. Another offers stock in a $10,000 mine which he is sure will shortly be worth $100,000. A third offers $5,000 for the use of $3,000 one year in mining operations. A fourth wants a backer for a new power, in which $5,000,000 will be easily realized. Most of these “opportunities” are doubtless illusive, while many are bare-faced frauds; yet among the myriads there may be some genuine chances for money-making. A shrewd man might find a bonanza in this mine of opportunities.
  14. Mine Owners.—Mr. Demullers, of Jefferson County, N. Y., a few years ago went to El Paso, Mexico, as a workman. To-day he owns the most valuable turquoise mine in the world, and is known as the “Turquoise King.” One recent shipment netted him $10,000. Another man in South America is known as the “Nitrate King,” and is said to be the richest man on the Western Continent. He also was once a poor man.
  15. Cattle Raisers.—Six years ago Grant Gillet was a station agent in a small town in Kansas, working for a bare living. He made an engagement as cattle feeder, and from that position worked himself up into wealth by buying and selling cattle. He actually made half a million dollars in four years, and was known as the Millionaire Cowboy. Another man this last year bought Texas cattle for $432,000, and sold them for $540,000, making $108,000 in four months. This simply shows what opportunities there are for shrewd men in the cattle business.
  16. Stump Speakers.—Men of oratorical ability have an opportunity during two or three months of every year to earn considerable money in political campaigns. Both of the great parties employ the best talent, the pay depending partly upon one’s convincing logic, but mainly upon the celebrity of the speaker. The lowest compensation is $5 a night, but noted speakers have received $100, and even more, for one short speech.
  17. Artistic Home Builders.—These are not speculators, but men who have built homes for their own occupancy, yet have been induced to sell by the high prices, offered. We know of no less than three persons in this present year who have made $3,000 to $5,000 each in this way.
  18. Cemetery Owners.—Cemetery lots have proved good paying property to those who know how to manage it. Land which costs from $1,000 to $5,000 an acre is divided up into parcels one rod or one-half rod square, and sold for from $100 to $500 a plot. Mr. Th. E. Tinsley became a millionaire through graveyard operations in Texas.
  19. Glass Ball Shooters.—The names of Carver and Bogardus have become continental by reason of their skill in hitting glass balls shot out of a trap. There is hardly any kind of sport more exciting, and there is always a large class who will patronize a rifle contest. These men pocketed fortunes by the exhibition of their skill.
  20. Entertainment Bureaus.—A Lecture Bureau in Brooklyn has the names of over 500 persons, embracing all kinds of talent, booked to interest and amuse its patrons. The manager, by having several engagements on every night of the week, and charging five per cent. of profits, is growing rich. There is room for a bureau of this kind in every large city.
  21. Ice-Cream Manufacturers.—Ten million quarts of ice-cream are annually sold in New York, 65,000 quarts a day being the average consumption in warm weather. “It is nothing,” says a prominent maker, “for a great establishment to dispose of 35,000 quarts in one day.” An idea of the money in the business may be formed from the fact that the value of the annual output is about $3,500,000, of which fully one-third is profit.
  22. Gold Hunters.—F. E. Simmons, of Montana, went to the Klondike less than a year ago. He suffered every hardship and nearly lost his life on the journey, but he returned with half a million dollars. There are a few prizes there, as in all mining districts, but the majority of gold hunters do not succeed. Yet Mr. J. Partridge, a mining expert, who has thoroughly examined the region, says the wealth of the Klondike is inexhaustible, and he predicts that $30,000,000 will be taken out next year.
  23. Asphalt Companies.—Here is an example of the enormous profits made by these companies. In one city the mayor, suspecting the charges were exorbitant, forced them to a lower scale, when the company actually agreed to do for $1.50 per yard what they had hitherto received $2.25 for laying. This last was a living profit, but the profits over and above a fair compensation were seventy-five cents per square yard. This is the way contractors for the government get rich.
  24. Horse Jockeys.—Small men weighing not over 100 pounds have an opportunity to earn money by riding horses on the race track. As the race often depends upon the judgment, skill, and balance of the rider, the owner wants the qualities of a man in the body of a boy. Jockeys receive on different tracks from $10 to $25 for their day’s work, but riders of winners often receive presents of $10 and even more. Tod Sloan, a rider for the Dwyers, it is said, received $1,000 for a trip to the English Derby.
  25. Wig Making.—In a large city where there are several theaters, you can do a good business in wigmaking. The trade is easily learned, and the goods will command prices varying from the mustache of fifty cents to the court wig for which you should receive $7 or $8. A location near a large theater is desirable. Actors are very fastidious about their make-up, and willing to pay good prices. It is said that Edwin Forrest once paid $300 for a striking wig.
  26. Book Repairing.—Almost everybody has books that are out of order, and yet, strange to say, we have never heard of any one making a business of repairing books. For your outfit you need several sheets of paper of different sizes and thickness, a few strips of leather, some stout pieces of cloth, a bottle of glue, a penknife, and a pair of scissors. These can be carried in a small hand bag. Practice on your own and your friends’ books before striking out.
  27. The Household, Pack.—Select twenty-five articles most needed in a household. They should be compact, so as to go in a small box or bag. They should be such things as soap, starch, shoe blacking, shoe polish, stove blacking, cement, mucilage, matches, bluing, yeast cakes, baking powders, etc. These are articles in constant demand and consumption. They can be sold from door to door, mostly among people of limited means, and if sold cheap there is profit, because they are articles which every one wants, and many sales, even if the profits are small, mean large results. There are many peddlers who are foreigners, and having made a competence, go back to their own country to enjoy it.
  28. Pawnbrokers’ Profits.—The pawnbrokers’ business has been largely given up to the Jews, but there is no good reason why it should be. Pawnbrokers make immense profits. The amount of the loan is not above one-third the value of the article. The goods are frequently not redeemed. Then there are the pawnbrokers’ sales, at which the articles command at least one-half their value. The pawnbroker gets ten per cent. or more on money loaned, and if the goods are sold he gets the difference between one-third and one-half values; that is, if an article be worth $100, the loan is $33.33-1/3. The amount realized at the sale is $50. Pawnbrokers’ profits, $16.66-2/3. This is the reason most pawnbrokers get rich.

, In, pager