TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: What a Difference a Century Can Make

What a Difference a Century Can Make

Patrick Townson (
Tue, 19 Jul 2005 22:23:40 -0500

THE YEAR 1905:

One hundred years ago. What a difference a century makes!

Here are some of the U.S. statistics for the Year 1905 from the United
States Bureau of the Census:

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. Several states were
giving favorable consideration to requiring license plates and
driver's licenses for anyone who wished to own/operate one of these
machines. Plates and licenses for machines were still mostly optional
things, but the fact that there had been some 'hit and run' accidents
unsolved was leading the various states (all 45 of them) to think
strongly about regulation. Many citizens protested that such
requirements would be an 'invasion of their privacy'.

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 an 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 using Borax soap or
egg yolks.

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;
2. Tuberculosis;
3. Diarrhea or other problems with the bowels;
4. Heart disease;
5. Stroke.

The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii,
and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet. Indian Territory
(which is to say, Oklahoma) would come along later that year; Arizona
and New Mexico would not become states until 1912.

While Chicago had the reputation of rail capital and hog butcher of
the USA, and Salt Lake City, Utah had the monicker of 'crossroads of
the west' for about a decade (since the 1890's) when Utah had become a
state rather than the Mormon territory of Deseret, and the oil capitol
of the world was Tulsa, Indian Territory, but not many folks lived in
the desert, so the population of Las Vegas, Nevada was only 30 people!

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 U.S. adults couldn't read or write. Illiteracy was
more common in southern states and rural areas. Only 6 percent of all
Americans had graduated from high school, which was considered an
institution of higher education. About 1 percent had graduated from a
college or university.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter
at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists were permitted
to prescribe these things and said, "Heroin clears the complexion,
gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach, aides in moving
the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."
(Shocking!) Marijuana was perfectly legal and was also considered to
be of great medicinal help.

Eighteen percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time
servant or domestic help. Dinner usually was an 'elegant' hour-long
affair at which the entire family would gather to eat.

There were about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S. that year,
and five deaths which were of questionable circumstances (that is, if
they were or were not murders). Most Americans possessed a weapon and
were trained in its use.

Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years, in 2105. It
staggers the mind.

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