Last week one of my favorite cousins sent me the following piece that has been making the rounds on the internet.
THE YEAR 1905
This will boggle your mind, I know it did mine!
The year is 1905.
One hundred years ago.
What a difference a century makes!
Here are some of the U.S. statistics for the Year 1905:
The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.
Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California.
With a mere 1.4 million people, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents per hour.
The average U.S. 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 in the U.S. took place at home.
Ninety percent of all U.S. 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 in the U.S. were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
4. Heart disease
The American flag had 45 stars.
Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
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 U.S. 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 pharmacist said, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health." (Shocking!)
Eighteen percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
There were about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.
Now I forwarded this from someone else without typing it myself, and sent it to you in a matter of seconds!
Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.
It staggers the mind.
I had seen this before, but this time it prompted me to come up with a little history of my own:
1905 was amazingly different in may ways, but you don't need to go back 100 years to see astonishing change. Fast forward 36 years. It's 1941. The Montgomery Ward store in Arkansas City advertises the following: Frocks for school girls, 54¢; Boys' tank tops & underpants, 18¢; School lunch box with 1/3 pint vacuum bottle, 94¢; Roller skates, 88¢; Cake pan, muffin pan, cookie sheet, etc., 7¢ each; 90 lb slate roll roofing, $1.98; Motor oil, 7¢ per quart (your container); Winter King car battery, $4.22; Powr Kraft drill press, lathe, band saw, jointer/planer, bench saw, $16.75 each; Boys' or girls' fully equipped bikes, $23.88 (knee action, $2 extra); 11-tube fully automatic phono-radio, $76.88 (with $10 worth of records); Bedroom set (bed, dresser, and chest of drawers), $79.97; Blankets, $1.58; Girls' shoes, $1.00, $1.87, and $1.98. That's before we got into the war, with Old Man Depression still hanging on. But how about after the war, when we were rolling in dough? In 1949, Lester C. Parker taught welding at Chilocco Indian School; his salary was $1600 per year. The school superintendant, who had a Phd, received $3000. If I took my 25¢ allowance to the little corner store, I could get a Milky Way, a Snickers, a Baby Ruth, a Payday, or a Three Musketeers for 5¢. When I got my first job in 1954, as a gardener's helper, I worked 12 hours from before daylight to sundown each Saturday for $3.00, which works out to 25¢ per hour. My little brother and I went to the Sunday afternoon matinee at the Lomita Theater, where the program included two feature films, four or five cartoons, a western serial, and two or three comedy shorts (Three Stooges, Charlie Chase, Roert Benchley, Zazu Pitts, etc.). The price of admission was 25¢. Move forward a few more years. My new 1968 VW Beetle cost $2100. A fancy Jeep wagon or a Cadillac was around $3000 to $3500. On January 3, 1974, I drove my VW into a Shell station in Torrance and filled the tank with 10.2 gallons of regular gas for $4.75 at 46.6¢ a gallon. This was AFTER the 1973 oil embargo had caused prices to skyrocket. In the past 30 years, inflation and rising expectations have made stunning changes in prices, wages, and what people are willing to spend (75¢ for a pint bottle of WATER! Are you crazy?!). But I just can't bring myself to buy a candy bar and pay 75¢ to a dollar for something I used to get for a nickel. And perhaps you can forgive me for feeling cheated when I go to a theater, pay several dollars, and have to sit through commercials (!) to see only one movie, and no cartoon.
September 4, 2005