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Homepage / Food For Thought / The USA 100 years ago
  • The average life expectancy was forty-seven.
  • Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
  • Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
  • A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.
  • There were only 8,000 cars 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 residents, California was only the twenty-first most populous state in the Union.
  • The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
  • The average wage was 22 cents an hour.
  • The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2500 per year, a veterinarian between $1500 and $4000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5000 per year.
  • More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.
  • Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
  • The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was thirty. The remote desert community was inhabited by only a handful of ranchers and their families.
  • Scotch tape, crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.
  • There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
  • Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
  • There were about 230 reported murders in the U.S. annually.