How time flies!
Obscured by our fixation on the plethora of daily data releases is the really big long term picture.
While people endlessly carp about our slow, 2% a year growing economy, the fact is that improvements in our standard of living have been astronomical.
I have assembled the compilation of data below for 1917, when my grandfather was fighting in the trenches of Northern France, and my great aunt died from the global Spanish Flu epidemic.
How times have changed!
- The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.
- Fuel for cars was only sold in drug stores.
- Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
- Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
- The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
- The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
- The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.
- The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
- A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year.
- A dentist could make $2,500 per year.
- A veterinarian could make between $1,500 and $4,000 per year.
- A mechanical engineer could make 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-call 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 for a dozen.
- Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
- Most women only washed their hair once a month. They 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 neither a Mother’s Day nor a Father’s Day.
- Two out of every 10 adults could not read or write.
- Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated high school.
- Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at local drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach, bowels and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health!”.
- Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
- And last, there were about 230 reported murders in the entire United States!
It is amazing how fast everything around us is changing. It is impossible to imagine what it will be like in another 100 years!
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