November 11, 2009


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Have you ever thought about how much easier our way of life is now compared to 100 years ago?
Today, we take for granted many of the things that our grandparents or great-grandparents never would have dreamed about. We can jump into a car and drive across the state in six hours or hop on an airplane and be across the country in six hours.
Our homes and lives are filled with electronic items that today we don’t think that we could live without; yet a hundred years ago, another generation did just fine without telephones, cell phones, computers, television or radio, not to mention electric washers and dryers, dishwashers, toasters, microwaves or refrigerators and freezers.
How different where things back in 1909? Here are some statistics that will amaze you.
• The average life expectancy was 47 years!!
• Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub and only eight 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 and the average worker made between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year, a dentist earned $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 being ‘substandard.’
• When you went to the grocery store, sugar cost four cents a pound, eggs were 14 cents a dozen and coffee was 15 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 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 iced 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 and only six 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.