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Life in Perspective

STATISTICS FROM 1905

city sceneMarijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. (Shocking!)

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

2. Tuberculosis

3. Diarrhea

4. Heart disease

5. Stroke

The American ag 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.

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. Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.

Life in the 1500’s

Next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be… Here are some facts about life in the 1500’s:

1) Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children–last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it — hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”

2) Houses had thatched roofs–thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals (mice rats, and bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof — hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

3) There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

4) The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, — hence the saying “dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh on the oor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entry way — hence, a “thresh hold.”

5) They cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the re. Every day they lit the re and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while — hence the rhyme, “peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.”

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