Thursday, July 16, 2009

Let's revisit "the good old days"

Here are some statistics from a hundred years ago in 1909 - some good, some bad:

- 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 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.

- The five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

- The American flag had 45 stars.

- The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 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 USA!


  1. On the high school graduation rate.

    This is the 8th grade graduation exam, and I suspect that most of us couldn't complete it!

    I just use the web site, to keep from overflowing this space.

    Dave Jones

  2. I take it lynchings weren't counted as murder?