Do you ever wonder how typical life was during the time that many of todays ‘Heritage recipes’ were derived from?
Below is a compilation of humorous and sometimes eye opening facts of the American life 100 years ago.
The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.
Fuel for a 1911 car was sold in drug stores only.
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.
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 $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.
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.
The Five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
4. Heart disease
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.
It was determined that the San Fransisco earthquake was caused by the city using too much electricity. “An imbalance was created between the negative and positive charges within in the ether and earth”.
Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
The average work week consisted of a 6 day workweek at 50 hrs.
The typical home cooked on wood or coal burning stoves.
Kerosene began to replace whale oil in indoor oil lamps.
The deceased were still being ‘viewed with dignity’ at home in their own parlor.
Photographs of family members sitting alongside the ‘posed’ deceased in living rooms was common.
1 in 10 babies died before reaching the age of 1 year.
It would be another 40 years for American homes with indoor plumbing to reach 50%.
Penicillin had not been invented yet. Mercury was being used to cure STD’s. Bloodletting and leeches were commonly used to release bad blood.
More than 95 percent of all births 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 in the press AND the government as “substandard.”
Many ‘Rural Doctors’ received their training under an ‘experienced’ Doctor who himself was self taught. Many an ‘experienced Doctor’s’ only education was that of attending a medical seminar in physiology and anatomy or being a ‘remover of limbs’ (Saw bones) during the Civil War.
The medical community debated whether women were capable of reaching sexual climax. It was determined by a medical consortium held in Chicago that the idea was ‘ludicrous’. “While we (Doctors) are convinced women can feel pain and pressure, there are no pleasure nerves located with the female vagina needed to produce a pleasurable climax. Only the penis is capable of that.”
Women were strongly encouraged by their doctors to have their vagina’s “medically stimulated” (hysterical paroxysm) by the latest electrical medical intravaginal vibrators in the treatment of Female Hysteria. These “medical devises” were used during pelvic exams in the privacy of an office visit. Symptoms of Female Hysteria included, sexual desire, heavy breathing, uncontrolled whimpering, screaming, signs of irritability and the tendency to ’cause trouble’. Note to readers; ( and then they charged her for the visit!)
Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores.
Back then pharmacists said, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, Regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health!”
Ailments included of the day included, catarrh (sinus infections), consumption (tuberculosis) dropsy (edema or swelling) and grippe (a cold). Suppliers offered everything from balms to pennyroyal pills. Otto’s Cure and Paine’s Celery Compound were among the alleged cure-alls.
Consider the warning of Dr. J.K. Kellogg, which appeared front page on March 24. “We will all soon be idiots or insane” topped the article. The doctor made a plea for “vegetarianism,” saying that “feeding men with meat is like feeding a steam engine with coal made of stone.”
Kellogg suggested more healthy libations. “Many people today are habitually intoxicated on tea,” the article reported him saying. “There is more poison in a single cup of tea than an entire glass of beer.” Note to reader; (I’ve been telling my wife that for years!)
He warned humans will sink into oblivion without reform. The number of degenerates, insane people, imbeciles and lunatics was increasing, according to the doctor. In 1849, there were 600 of these among 1.5 million people. In 1899, there were 1,800, he said.
Women could not vote for another 9 years.
There was no income tax.
Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help …..
There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE country!
It was the year the Philippines revolted against U.S. rule, so readers frequently found dispatches from Manila on the front page. America’s war with Spain was over, but Havana still was a hotbed for headlines. Yellow fever was in the South.
Helen Keller was setting bicycle records. On May 24, The Herald reported she traveled – in tandem – 28 miles without stopping. The trip took two hours and 34 minutes. “Ms. Keller persists in riding fast and is quite indignant when either a halt or a slow pace is called for,” the article stated.
Local education control over State control was considered paramount. As the paper reported, “the standard of intelligence in Washington County is probably unexcelled by any other community, the United States or World.”
This made front page news; “Kenney, aged about 23 years, who has been simple minded for some time, yesterday became violently insane on the street,” the article stated. Before Kenney could be “taken in hand,” he knocked another person down and threatened several lives.
In Washington County, the free library was only a proposal that prominent community leaders touted. Williamsport chose electric lights over street lamps in a March election. Residents cast 804 votes.
A plan to bring a baseball team to Hagerstown have excited residents there.
The first film ever made by a Hollywood studio was completed in the fall.
The famous French chef, Julia Child was born.