The year is 1909. One hundred years ago. What a difference a century makes! Here are some statistics for the year 1909. My "commentary" is marked with **:
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.
**These are some pretty wild statistics, but this one really amazed me. Of course the question that begs to be answered is "where DID those 86% without a bathtub bathe?"**
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.
**Now days $22 per hour is scoffed at and looked upon as equal to "minimum wage". Think about this; 100 years ago a dozen eggs cost more than one half of what was made in an hour of work. It took an hour of work to buy a five pound bag of sugar. **
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 the government as 'substandard.'
**Isn't that incredible! 90% of all doctors had NO college education just 100 years ago. No wonder a dentist and a veterinarian made way more than doctors back then. Oh how times have changed.**
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.
**Once a month use egg yolks to wash your hair and that is it for a month? Now days hair has to be shampooed daily with exotic shampoos and conditioners that cost a fortune.**
Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.
Five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
4. Heart disease
**It is truly amazing to see the official cause of death change dramatically over the last 100 years due to the discovery of what really kills people. Cancer is a prime example of this. **
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
Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
There were about 230 reported murders in the entire USA!
**Now think about this; last year in St. Louis, Missouri there were 167 murders in a city of a few hundred thousand people. One hundred years ago, there were only 230 in the entire United States! In 2007 there were just under 17,000 murders in this country. **
On a related note, here are some common medications sold "over the counter" back in the late 1800's and early 1900's:
1. Bayer's heroin. Between 1890 and 1910 heroin was sold as a non-addictive substitute for morphine. It was also used to treat children with strong cough.
2. Metcalf Coca Wine. It was one of a huge variety of wines with ******* on the market. Everybody used to say that it would make you happy and it would also work as a medicinal treatment. Mariani wine (1875) was the most famous Coca wine of its time. Pope Leo XIII used to carry one bottle with him all the time. He awarded Angelo Mariani (the producer) with a Vatican gold medal.
3. Opium for Asthma
4. ******* Tablets (1900); All stage actors, singers teachers and preachers had to have them for a maximum performance. They were great to "smooth" the voice.
5. ******* Drops for Toothaches. These were very popular for children in 1885. They not only relieved the pain, they made the children happy!
I often think about how my Great, Great Grandfather lived to be 102 years old and died in the 1930's. His son, my Great Grandfather lived to be 101 and died in the early 1960's. How on earth did people live to be over 100 years old back "in the day?" This was before there were medical centers taking up square miles and pharmacy shelves full of enough prescription medicine to keep certain investors very wealthy and a test to determine every single thing what might be wrong with you.
The next time you feel like complaining about how tough things are now, stop and remember what it was like just 100 short years ago. We have so much to be thankful for and very few of us have any reason to feel like we are living in the Stone Age just because we don't have the newest phone or plasma television to hit the market.