Can You Name These General Store Items Only Baby Boomers Remember?

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When the oldest Baby Boomers were born, around 50% of the population still lived on a farm. By the time the last of their generation came into the world, nearly two-thirds had moved to the city! What was it like for those youngsters who grew up in the countryside? What could they buy, and how could they buy it? Let's see how many of these classic general store items you can identify today!

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1. You might hear an old-timer humming on one of these:

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  1. Harmonica
  2. Piccolo
  3. Lute
  4. Drums
Did you know the harmonica is the best-selling musical instrument in the world? It was invented in Germany in 1821 by Christian Buschmann, who was only 16 at the time!
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2. Don't touch the _______ware!

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  1. England
  2. Australia
  3. China
  4. Panama
China kept its porcelain production process a secret for 900 years! When word got out, it slowly spread to other East Asian countries, then finally to Europe and the rest of the world.
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3. What's the name of this popcorn with a prize every time?

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  1. Cap'n Crunch
  2. Sailor Boy
  3. Smarties
  4. Cracker Jack's
This tasty caramel-coated popcorn got its name when a random sampler of the snack said, “That’s a crackerjack!”, which was 19th-century slang for "it's so good!" It would be the same as someone naming a snack "Lit" today...
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4. You felt like an astronaut when Mom made you a glass of orange...

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  1. Hot chocolate
  2. Green tea
  3. Tang
  4. Grape Kool-Aid
The drink mix Tang was indeed used by early NASA space flights. In 1962, astronaut John Glenn selected Tang for the menu while conducting eating experiments in orbit.
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5. Boys bought Buster Browns. Girls preferred:

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  1. Krissies
  2. UGG boots
  3. Ruby slippers
  4. Mary Janes
How did Mary Janes get their unforgettable names? Mary Jane and Buster Brown were characters in the comic strip "Buster Brown", first published in 1902. Mary Jane was actually named and drawn after the artist's daughter.
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6. Where's Grandpa?! He's at the store playing a game of...

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  1. Checkers
  2. Mystery Date
  3. Pay Day
  4. Clue
The game of checkers was played in ancient Egypt as long ago as 1400 BCE. In more recent times, however, old barrels were flipped over and a checkers board placed on top so locals could chat and play at the general store.
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7. Grandma probably had one or two of these on her vanity table.

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  1. Lunchboxes
  2. Perfume bottles
  3. iPads
  4. Wine glasses
According to Coco Chanel, “A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future.” Do you agree?
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8. While mom did the shopping, the kids admired penny candies like these:

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  1. Jolly Ranchers
  2. Cherry Gumdrops
  3. Hungry Hipppos
  4. Gooey Gobs
Penny candies were small pieces of hard candy stored in barrels and sold by weight. Jolly Ranchers were a fruity candy of this sort that appeared in 1949 in response to the need for a sweet that stayed popular year-round.
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9. Which energizing breakfast beverage used freshly ground beans from this device?

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  1. Coffee
  2. Orange juice
  3. Chai tea
  4. Red Bull
When it comes to making the perfect coffee, proper grind is king. A good grinder ensures no clumps, keeps the beans cool during grinding, and helps evenly distribute the ground coffee.
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10. Cha-ching! Dad pulled out his wallet to pay at the:

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  1. Amazon
  2. Self check-out
  3. Tap & Go
  4. Cash register
In 1879, James Ritty invented the very first cash register -- but not to manage customer's money. Why then? To prevent employees from pocketing the profits.
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11. This old-fashioned contraption helped Susie whip:

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  1. Chicken
  2. Egg whites
  3. Bacon
  4. Bananas
Angel food and other egg-white–heavy cakes depended on rotary egg beaters for easy preparation. The baker gripped the handle with one hand and operated the crank with the other to create a rotary action.
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12. Before this, kids had to brush their teeth with soap!

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  1. Hot glue gun
  2. Toothpaste
  3. Hair brush
  4. Talcum powder
Introduced in 1896, Colgate was the first toothpaste in a collapsible tube. And by 1945, most toothpaste companies had finally replaced soap with tastier ingredients.
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13. Building your own soapbox car? These tools were great for:

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  1. Developing an app
  2. Baking
  3. Gardening
  4. Woodworking
Boys and girls used woodworking tools to build soapbox cars and other crafts. Soapbox cars got their name because kids made them using old wooden soap (or apple) crates attached to roller skate wheels.
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14. What Christmas spice did Grandma buy for her Snickerdoodles?

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  1. Safron
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Anise
  4. Paprika
Cinnamon is a spice made from the inner bark of trees. It has been used as an ingredient throughout history, dating as far back as Ancient Egypt. It used to be so rare that it was a gift fit for kings.
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15. Got a pen pal? Some general stores also offered a:

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  1. Nail salon
  2. Game arcade
  3. Post office
  4. Night club
As the center of the community, general stores often managed the mail as well. Did you know that the Post Office Department was founded in 1775 by Benjamin Franklin? The first Postmaster General's salary was only $1,000. Now it's around $82,360!
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16. Red or black? Kids begged their pops for a few pieces of...

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  1. Licorice
  2. Cake
  3. Peppermints
  4. Froot Loops
The word licorice is actually derived from Greek and means "sweet root". The candy contains a compound that may help slow the effects of aging on the brain.
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17. Don't let the baby touch the piping-hot _____!

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  1. Espresso machine
  2. Percolator
  3. Microwave
  4. Keurig pod
Remember the smell of freshly percolated coffee wafting about the room as the percolator did its work? As the coffee brewed, it released aromatic compounds that created a rich fragrance.
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18. Chocolatey on the outside, crunchy on the inside...

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  1. Milkshakes
  2. Gumballs
  3. Malted milk balls
  4. Pop rocks
Malted milk balls are a classic candy made with a center of malted milk powder coated by a chocolate "bark". In 1939, the Overland Candy Company launched a tasty malted milk candy called Giants, the predecessor to modern day Whoppers.
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19. These controversial sweets are now called "candy sticks".

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  1. Candy canes
  2. Bubblegum
  3. Rock candy
  4. Candy cigarettes
There's been a lot of controversy surrounding candy cigarettes from the start. To avoid trouble, its makers replaced the word "cigarette" with "stick" in the early 70s. Even today, the candy remains rebellious.
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20. Eliza went after a natural, sun-kissed look with...

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  1. Cornflower
  2. Orange paint
  3. Suntan lotion
  4. Honey
Suntan lotion protects against harmful UV rays while tanning, but did you know you can also get a sunburn on a cloudy day? It's a good idea to apply sunscreen every day, no matter the weather.
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21. Good luck getting into your can of chicken soup without this!

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  1. Can opener
  2. Jackhammer
  3. Laser cutter
  4. Chisel
The can opener wasn’t invented until 48 years after the first can! The original can openers looked more like strangely shaped knives. They opened cans by piercing and levering the lid.
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22. Sewing thread was sold by the:

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  1. Darn
  2. Litter
  3. Knob
  4. Spool
A spool is a cylindrical device on which thread can be wound. The higher the number on the spool, the finer the thread. However, keep in mind that numbering systems aren't the same across all threads, but rather depend on the manufacturer!
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23. Bobby always wanted to play on this horse that could:

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  1. Teach life lessons
  2. Jump fences
  3. Rock
  4. Neigh
Rocking horses galloped into children's lives in the early 17th century. The oldest, intact rocking horse dates from around 1610 and is believed to have belonged to King Charles I of England!
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24. Mom's chocolate chip cookies relied on this key ingredient:

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  1. Tuna
  2. Flour
  3. Vinegar
  4. Screws
Flour is a powder made by grinding raw grains, beans, nuts, roots, or seeds. Most cookie recipes call for all-purpose flour.
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25. Now considered collectible or kitsch, these figurines were made of:

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  1. Lead
  2. Latex
  3. Porcelain
  4. Soap
The first European porcelain figurines, Meissen porcelain, are thought to have been permanent versions of sugar sculptures used to decorate tables on special occasions. They had found a place on mantelpieces and side tables before taking the big journey across the pond to the United States.
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26. At cocktail parties, Dad would crank this device to crush...

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  1. Ice
  2. Olives
  3. Oranges
  4. Garnishes
Crushed ice is popular in cocktails because it has more surface area than ice cubes, causing it to cool drinks faster. The downside? The cocktail will get watery more quickly, too.
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27. Discontinued in 2018, these simple candies were called Necco _____.

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  1. Crunch
  2. Hearts
  3. Pills
  4. Wafers
Necco Wafers are simple sweets made from the original recipe used by Oliver Chase in 1847. They are fat-free, gluten-free, and contain no high fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, production was halted in July 2018.
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28. Good luck finding a decent waffle that wasn't made with one of these:

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  1. Waffle wiffle
  2. Waffle iron
  3. Waffle microwave
  4. Waffle tape
Waffle irons are believed to have been invented in the 13th-14th century. The earliest known waffle recipe is in an anonymous manuscript in which a Frenchman gave his waffle-making instructions to his young wife, including how to use the “iron”.
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29. Why did Grandpa need a refill for his jet lighter?

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  1. To fly to Europe
  2. To start his car
  3. To light his pipe
  4. To roast some hotdogs
The novelty of the Beattie Jet lighter? If you held it upright, it worked just like a normal lighter. But if you tilted it slightly with a roll of the wrist, you could easily set your pipe bowl ablaze.
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30. Pete wanted to find more _____ to add to his collection.

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  1. Polly Pockets
  2. Slinkies
  3. Pet rocks
  4. Toy soldiers
Toy soldiers were small figurines based on members of combat or military groups. Before they became popular toys, they were used by generals and rulers to plan strategic attacks.
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31. What did the family need for long winter nights?

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  1. Walking stick
  2. Broom handle
  3. Shovel
  4. Fire poker
Fire pokers shift logs so that more oxygen can reach the fire and it can burn better. The poker must also be long enough for larger fires.
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32. Farm families picked up baler twine to help with baling the:

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  1. Chickens
  2. Hay
  3. Carrots
  4. Apples
The first hay baling machines were stationary, so hay had to be carried by hand to wagons that took the hay to the balers. The machine then pressed the hay into square bales, which were secured with twine.
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33. To sew a new dress, Betty bought her cloth by the:

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  1. Fathom
  2. Metric ounce
  3. Bard
  4. Bolt
In Middle English, short metal rods, particularly those with knobbed ends, were called "bolts". It's been used to refer to cloth ever since the 15th century!
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34. What did Dad buy to keep his dress shoes in tip-top shape?

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  1. Glow-in-the-dark laces
  2. Black Sharpies
  3. Shoe shine kit
  4. Kitten heels
Shining your shoes not only keeps them looking good, it's also necessary for proper care. Shoe polish helps moisturize and waterproof the leather, extending the life of your shoes.
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35. Barbara wanted one of these in every color:

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  1. iPhone cases
  2. Ribbons
  3. Butterfly clips
  4. Baseball cards
Ribbons are often made of silk, polyester, nylon, and cotton fabrics. In 16th-century England, there was an attempt to limit the wearing of ribbons to only the nobility and people of importance. Imagine if it had succeeded!
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36. Because lanterns posed a fire risk, every household wanted a...

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  1. Whatchamacallit
  2. Spotlight
  3. Flashlight
  4. Smart LED
The word "flashlight" comes from this product's early predecessor. It didn't project light consistently, but rather only flashed on and off due to a lack of proper battery power.
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37. What did Bobby pick up for his first day of school?

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  1. iPad
  2. Pencils
  3. Feather quill
  4. Phone charger
Every kid likes new pencils. Did you know that one tree can produce up to 2,500 pencils? That's a lot of essays to write!
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38. What did Mom use to bind together her love letters from Dad?

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  1. Rubber bands
  2. Scotch tape
  3. Silly Putty
  4. Twine
Twine is a twist of strings or rope. Did you know the town of Cawker City, Kansas has the largest ball of twine in the world? It weighs 5,000 pounds and stands 8 feet high!
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39. Pick up some aluminum foil and baking soda to polish your tarnished:

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  1. Copper
  2. Silver
  3. Granite
  4. Brass
Make your tarnished silver shine with this aluminum foil trick! Boil 1 liter of water, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and 1 piece of aluminum foil. Drop your silverware in the pot for 10 seconds, and then remove it using kitchen tongs.
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40. Bare legs? How undignified! Mom always needed a new pair of...

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  1. Nylon stockings
  2. Strappy sandals
  3. Tube socks
  4. Galoshes
Nylon stockings weren't originally intended to imitate the appearance of legs. In the 1950s, seamless stockings actually suffered in sales for looking too much like bare legs.
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41. What did Everest buy so he could make his prize-winning pound cake?

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  1. Sifter
  2. Mallet
  3. Wine corker
  4. Pizza cutter
A sifter is used to separate and break up clumps in dry ingredients. Sifting flour ensures no lumps and a smooth consistency, which is very important in baking.
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42. Some called it soda, some called it pop. What did it come in?

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  1. Glass bottles
  2. Coffee mugs
  3. Aged oak barrels
  4. Gallon jugs
Before plastic became widespread, soft drinks were sold in glass bottles. The name "soda" is most common in the Northeast. "Pop" is heard in the Midwest.
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43. Season's greetings! If you didn't feel like cooking this Christmas, you could pick up...

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  1. Spam-flavored sarsaparilla
  2. Christmas dinner in a can
  3. Minced roadkill
  4. Hickory-smoked vinegar candy
General stores sold a variety of preserved and fresh goods, even an entire dinner in a can! One of the best things about canned produce? You can stock up, without worrying about spoilage.
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44. Man overboard! These hard candies were named for their nautical shape:

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  1. Life Savers
  2. Thin Mints
  3. Roundie Ropes
  4. Beer Barrels
Life Savers got their name due to the similarity of their O-shape to life preservers on boats. The original slogan for Life Savers? "For that stormy breath!"
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45. This invention could be called "the greatest thing since sliced bread"...

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  1. Toaster
  2. Blender
  3. Deep fryer
  4. Grill
Toasters have been a part of breakfast since 1921. Since then, we've adapted toasters to also make waffles, crumpets, and even hot dogs!
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46. Hypericum (or St. John's wort) was NOT used to:

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  1. Treat bruises
  2. Boost immunity
  3. Improve mood
  4. Make the tastiest milkshakes
St. John's wort is the common name for the herbal supplement, hypericum perforatum. Use it on the skin to treat bruises, sprains, and wounds. Take it by mouth to boost immunity. In the United States, it's also used to relieve depression and anxiety.
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47. Susan slept in hair rollers and woke up with beautiful what?

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  1. Eyebrows
  2. Nails
  3. Teeth
  4. Curls
Hair rollers, or hair curlers, were patented in 1930 but reached peak popularity in the 50s and 60s. Simply wrap your hair around the rollers, secure them in place, and let the curls set.
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48. Despite its appearance, this kooky candy should NOT be fed to elephants:

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  1. Lucky Charms
  2. Circus peanuts
  3. Spongebobs
  4. Peeps
Circus peanuts don't contain real peanuts! Rather, they are an orange, peanut-shaped marshmallow candy with an artificial banana flavor.
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49. What durable, yet luxurious, material was used for everything from gloves to saddles?

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  1. Leather
  2. Lace
  3. Denim
  4. Aluminum
Enough leather was produced in 2007 to cover over 23 billion square feet! Did you know that the average consumer is wearing four leather products at any given time?
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50. Looking for a nail? Then you'd better know its:

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  1. Brand
  2. Polish
  3. Age
  4. Penny size
Penny sizes originally referred to the price for a hundred (100) or long hundred (120) nails. The larger the nail, the higher the cost. The system is no longer used in England but is still going strong in the US.
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