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Monday, June 1, 2009


This is from my good friend Debbie Symons who sends me the most intriguing links and the occasional . . . ahem . . . racy joke. Sorry, friends. This is one of the fun and intriguing things.


The year is 1909.
One hundred years ago. What a difference a century makes! Here are some statistics from that year. I hope it gives you pause as it did me.

The average life expectancy was 47 years.

Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!

The average wage in 1909 was 22 cents per hour. 
The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, 
a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.

Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND by the government as 'substandard.'

Sugar cost four cents a pound.

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

Five leading causes of death were: Pneumonia and influenza, Tuberculosis, Diarrhea, Heart Disease, and Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars.

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!!!!

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea hadn't been invented yet.

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write. Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, 'Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.'

Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.

Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.


One More Writer said...

Most of these didn't surprise me (since I'm writing a book set in the early 1900s), but some did! Thanks for sharing!

Erica Vetsch said...

Wow, these were a little fun and a little scary. Illiteracy, over the counter narcotics, and no cross-word puzzles? ACK!

carla stewart said...

I was thinking of you, D'Ann, when I saw this. I can't wait to read your book. Erica, your books are a little further back historically, aren't they? I applaud you both because I know what kind of meticulous research you have to do in your writing.

Myra Johnson said...

How fun! I have always wondered when iced tea became popular. I seem to recall seeing it offered in a historical novel or two and wondered about it.

Oh, and my mother used to tell me that the original Coca-Cola actually had cocaine in it! Yikes!!!