There is an article over at Wizards that talks about adventuring gear over the different editions - specifically 1e, 3.5e and 4e.
Alright, there isn't at that much in the way of discussion, but it does have handy links to 2 page excerpts for the adventuring gear pages from the editions in question.
Things that stick our to me:
1e is a 91 Kbs PDF, 3.5 e is a 195 Kbs PDF and 4e is a 538 Kbs file. Each file is 2 pages long, so obviously 4e gives you much more info over its 2 pages than 1e does, right?
1e gives you info on starting money by cash, conversion between coins types, weapon prices, armor, clothing, herbs, livestock, miscellaneous, provisions, religious items, tack and transportation prices. It also discusses armor, Armor Class (AC), shield use, weapons and weapon proficiencies. Phew!
3.5e gives you adventuring gear, special substances and items, tools and skill kits, clothing, food drink and lodging, mounts and related gear, transport, spell-casting and services.
4e gives you adventuring gear; food, drink and lodging; and mounts and transport.
so, the later editions give you less info over the same amount of pages, but the file size bloats due to? what? I'd blame the the annoying border art like 3.5e has, but he 4e sample lacks that.
1e give much more info in less space. Actually, 4e reminds me of the papers my kid did in High School - enlarge the margins and the font to make less into more. The problem is, it's still less,
I'm sure this observation is not what WotC expected when they posted these samples ;)