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The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 1, January 2, 2017, Article 32

LABOR EXCHANGE CURRENCY IN THE UNITED STATES

The previous article in this E-Sylum issue discusses the Labor Exchange currency of Robert Owen, who started utopian colonies on both sides of the Atlantic, including New Harmony, Indiana. I have an 1833 London One Hour note in my collection, but I've never seen any notes from the Indiana colony. I pulled off my shelf the Indiana Obsolete Notes and Scrip by Wolka, Vorhies and Schramm (1978). There are no labor exchange notes listed for New Harmony.

However, a Google search did uncover the book New Harmony Then and Now by Donald E. Pitzer and Darryl Jones (2012). Page 75 illustrates an 1843 One Hour note. -Editor

New Harmony Indiana One Hour note

Labor Note or Time Money. Robert Owen introduced labor-time currency at New Harmony in the 1820s. This note, endorsed by Josiah Warren, is from 1843, when New Harmony again briefly tried the system as adapted by Warren in his "Time Stores" in Cincinnati and in his Ohio and New York communities.

To read the book on Google Books, see:
https://books.google.com/books?id=iZjP_B52xaQC

If labor notes were issued in New Harmony in the 1820s, do any examples still exist? A further search turned up later note images, but none from the 1820s. -Editor

One Hours Labor note2

Two Hours Labor note

From The New Harmony Communities By George Browning Lockwood.

To read the book on Google Books, see:
https://books.google.com/books?id=KM0PAQAAMAAJ

Three Hours LAbor note

Cincinnati Time Store note. From Equitable Commerce (1846) by Josiah Warren via Wikipedia.

To read the complete article, see:
Labor notes (currency) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_notes_(currency))

I checked with author Wendell Wolka who writes:

I do have a different Indiana note. It's a 50 cent note from New Harmony good for two hours in medical attendance. Vignettes of a train and Justice and Liberty seated by a shield inscribed "Labor for Labor"; NEW HARMONY across end in panel. Only known example. Nothing I'm aware of from Ohio.

The "Ithica hours" alternative currency notes are a modern example of this concept. I'd be interested in learning what readers can tell us about these early examples of time-based currency in Indiana and Ohio. These are scarce and historically important notes. -Editor

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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