My, How Things Have Changed

I found this here and, although it’s been around for a bit, I thought it interesting:

The year is 1906.
One hundred [and three] years ago.
What a difference a century makes!
Here are some of the U.S. statistics for the Year 1906:

  • 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 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 flag 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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 USA (disproved – see comment by OM).

Possibly the original American Gothic at



6 responses to “My, How Things Have Changed

  1. Fatal diarrhea ? What a crappy way to die !

    …and #3 when it should be number 2.

  2. See, some of it is pretty clear and easy to verify. I don’t need to check the number of stars on the flag because it seems good enough. And for most of it you’ll need some good research. But I’ll even let that coffee for $0.15 go, because life is too short for that kind of research.

    But when they say (about) 230 murders in a year, well I had to find out for myself:

    These two show around 3,000 murders in 1906.

    Thanks for checking on it and making me a bit more curious. I checked both sites and came up with an assumption of 4291 homicides – even more than you. What I found interesting is that the current homicide rate (per 100,000 population) is not dissimilar to that of 1906.

  3. Okay, look to the left of the man’s right knee. What kind of varmit is that?!

    I don’t know… I did note all the items on the roof, however.

  4. I had no idea you could die from diarrhea! And I do not even want to think about what my hair would look like after a month of no washing.

    Oh yeah. I’ve seen my hair after just a couple of days without washing… not a pretty sight.

  5. In 1906 I am making equal to an average U.S. worker. 🙂 Also don how many Credit Cards?

    I think you do die from diarrhea! They had worldwide moment to eradicate it, or something like that.

    Las Vegas was way better then increase the probability to win 🙂

    Yeah, what would life be like (for most) without credit? We decided (several years ago) to live as credit free as possible – we’ll see if it pays off.
    And, yes, the odds were better in Vegas those days, but you would have been playing for sand – no money yet.

  6. In only a blink of an eye- good grief.

    Urban (or suburban) sprawl at it’s finest.

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