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Life 100 Years Ago . . .

    Happy New Year! We hope you had a wonderful time during the holidays. Did you make any New Years resolutions and are you really going to keep them, this time?? Well, before you start worrying about all you have to do in 2012, why not take a moment, go back and take a look at what life was like 100 years ago:

  • The average life expectancy was only 47 years. The five leading causes of death were pneumonia, influenza, tuberculosis, diarrhea and heart disease.
  • One out of every 10 babies died before their first birthday. For every 1,000 births, 7 mothers died during labor.
  • Food was terrible! Did you know that plaster of Paris was added to milk from diseased cows so it would improve the milk’s color? Can you believe that bakers preserved their pastry with alum and sulfur of copper? Back in those days, the working class diet consisted of bread, butter, potatoes and bacon. Meat from the butcher was a luxury item.
  • The first bread-slicing machine was created in 1912. But, it wasn’t until 1928 that the process was perfected and sliced bread could be marketed.
  • Most homes had no indoor plumbing. (Even by 1940, only 55% of homes had complete indoor plumbing!).
  • There were no air conditioners or refrigerators.
  • You had to entertain yourself because there was no radio or television. The movie industry was just getting off the ground – the first Hollywood film was shot in the fall of 1911.
  • Most people worked 6 days a week and clocked in more than 50 hours. They were given 3 holidays off per year.
  • There were about 640,000 cars on our nation’s roads. But, was traffic better back then? No, it wasn’t! Most people were still using horse drawn vehicles and “run away” horses killed thousands of people. In fact, the horse-associated fatality rate was 10 times higher than today’s rate with cars! (Sure wish I could find some old ads from personal injury attorneys. Can you imagine seeing someone like our local famous lawyer, “Larry Parker”, setting on a horse with his cowboy hat on, doing a commercial and promising that he’ll win you 2.1 thousand dollars?)
  • Without cars, was pollution better?  Probably not. Everyone used coal for heating and cities were choked by coal dust. Over 3 million horses were used in American cities and each horse produced about 25 pounds of manure, per day (a new economy car sounds better all the time, doesn’t it?).
  • Back in 1911, Federal spending accounted for 2 percent of the economy. Today, it is over 24 percent. There was no income tax! Of course, there was no Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Today, those programs account for 42 percent of Federal spending.
  • Women didn’t have the right to vote (women didn’t get that right until 1920!).
  • Arizona and New Mexico became States and now, the United States flag had 48 stars.
  • The population of the United States was estimated at 95 million. Today, were close to 309 million.
  • California had a population of about 1.5 million. Today, it is around 37 million.
  • On April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage, resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people.

     Things were a lot different back then, weren’t they? Next time your smart phone goes out or when your flight to Europe is going to be 30 minutes late and you think that your entire life has been ruined, just imagine if you were living in 1912. You wouldn’t have any problems, right?