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Hughesville (2/4/09)

By Staff | Feb 4, 2009

Here are some very interesting facts from the year 1908. What a difference a century makes! Thank you to my friend Annette Babcock for sending me these interesting tidbits.

The average life expectancy was 47 years; 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 wage in 1908 was 22 cents per hour; the average worker made between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 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.

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.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at home. Sugar cost four cents a pound, eggs were 14 cents a dozen; coffee was 15 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 pneumonia and influenza, tuberculosis, diarrhea, heart disease and stroke. Crossword puzzles, canned beer and ice tea hadn’t been invented yet; there was no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day; the population of Las Vegas was only 30; two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write and only six percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

My mother and grandmother use to laugh when people would talk about the good old days. Now I understand why.

A very happy birthday to Joshua Fry on Feb. 8 and to his cousin Hannah Bitler who also shares this day with him. Love, your family and Bud.