100 Years of "Progress"

by Kevin Kerr

This will boggle your mind. I know it did mine.

According to a post on OneScience.com, below are some statistics for the United States in the year 1905:

-The average life expectancy was 47.

-Only 14% of homes had a bathtub — gross! Only 8% of homes had a telephone.

-A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.

-There were only 8,000 cars in the United States 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 U.S. wage was 22 cents per hour. The average U.S. worker made between $200-400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year. A dentist, $2,500, a veterinarian, $1,500-4,000. A mechanical engineer made about $5,000 per year. (A commodities newsletter writer? Priceless – some things never change.)

-More than 95% of all births in the United States 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 by the press and the government as “substandard.”

-Commodities traders, listen up… Sugar cost 4 cents a pound. Eggs were 14 cents a dozen. Coffee was 15 cents a pound.

-Most women washed their hair only once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo. Again, gross!

-In Canada, a law prohibited poor people from entering the country for any reason.

-The five leading causes of death in the United States were pneumonia and influenza, tuberculosis, diarrhea, heart disease and stroke.

-The American flag had only 45 stars. Why? Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn’t yet been admitted to the union.

-The population of Las Vegas was only 30!

-Crossword puzzles, canned beer and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet, nor had Jerry Springer, Fluffernutters or mobile homes (well, you can’t have everything).

-There was no Mother’s or Father’s Day.

-Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write. Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from high school.

-Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstore (now they’re just available on the “corner,” period). One promotion said, “Heroin clears the complexion; gives buoyancy to the mind; regulates the stomach and bowels; and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.” (Always trust your government warnings, ladies and gentlemen.)

-Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic helper.

-There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire country.”

And just think, I am typing this to you now and will send it in a matter of seconds. I will send about 150-200 e-mails today, and trade on markets all around the globe, places I have never even been to. I will transfer money, order a birthday cake, make travel arrangements and weekend plans, all from my desk and computer. It’s amazing and impossible to imagine where we will be in another 100 years.