# The year 1905

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## Main Question or Discussion Point

Maybe this will boggle your mind, I know it did mine! The year is 1905, one hundred years ago.

What a difference a century makes!

Here are some of the U.S. statistics for 1905:

The average life expectancy in the US. 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 residents, 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 ! an 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. physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by 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 prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason. The 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 30!!! Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented. There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day. Two of 10 U.S. adults couldn't read or write. Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated high school. Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardi! an of health." Eighteen percent of households in the U.S had at least one full-time servant or domestic. There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S. And I forwarded this from someone else without typing it myself, and sent it to you in a matter of seconds! Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years...it staggers the mind. ## Answers and Replies Related General Discussion News on Phys.org Evo Mentor Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo Now I know why. :yuck: loseyourname Staff Emeritus Gold Member It's pretty interesting how medical education came to be what it is today. John Rockefeller was the first to really hit the problem head on, establishing the General Education Board to certify medical schools and providing a great deal of funding to them. The Board stipulated that medical schools be combined on one campus with other health sciences. It all started with Johns Hopkins and Harvard, then many others followed suit. Moonbear Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member Also keep in mind that the low average life expectancy was due in part to the high infant and childhood mortality rate. When my grandmother, who was born in 1903, was near the end of her life, she once told me that she had seen amazing changes in her lifetime. She had seen life change from having outhouses to having indoor plumbing and multiple bathrooms in every home. She had seen transportation change from horse and buggy to a car for every family and space travel to the moon. And she had seen people go from having ice delivered daily for an ice box to having refrigerators run on electricity in every home. She said she had seen plenty in her life. She didn't often talk about the past like that, so it was a really interesting experience to hear her talking about how much had changed in her lifetime. I think she didn't talk about the past much because it also had very bitter sides to it. She had also lived through both World Wars and the Great Depression (my uncle and aunts were already born then, so she struggled to feed three small children during that time), and she experienced the death of a son when my uncle was killed in Korea, and also outlived my father and grandfather, all of my grandfather's siblings and one of her two sisters (her other sister was much younger, but died within a year of my grandmother). I always wished I could have gotten more stories out of her. My grandfather would sometimes tell more stories, but for some reason, if she heard him telling them, she'd tell him to shut up and nobody wanted to hear those old stories. Ivan Seeking said: The average life expectancy in the US. was 47 years There was higher infant mortality in 1905. The average life expectancy for 20-year-olds today may be lower than it was in 1905. Pengwuino Gold Member Ivan Seeking said: Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo. Oh the good ol days. Now they throw in a million horrible smelling things into their hair and spray crap on 10 times a day so that people sitting near them die of asphyxiation Inflation, 1905-2005 Ivan Seeking said: A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars. IvanSeeking said: The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents ! an hour. "What cost$.22 in 1905 would cost $4.52 in 2005." http://www.westegg.com/inflation IvanSeeking said: The average U.S. worker made between$200 and $400 per year.$4,104.71 — $8,209.43. http://www.westegg.com/inflation IvanSeeking said: 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.
$41,047.14;$51,308.93; $30,785.36 —$82,094.28; $102,617.85. http://www.westegg.com/inflation IvanSeeking said: Sugar cost four cents a pound.$0.82.
http://www.westegg.com/inflation

IvanSeeking said:
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
$2.87. http://www.westegg.com/inflation IvanSeeking said: Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.$3.08.
http://www.westegg.com/inflation

Pengwuino
Gold Member
Pff, thanks a lot kill joy :P

Hmm... i wonder how far back were the last bill design changes for various denominations are... Itd be cool to get a years salary in this time and go back in time to see how much more you can buy :D

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loseyourname
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Moonbear said:
When my grandmother, who was born in 1903, was near the end of her life, she once told me that she had seen amazing changes in her lifetime. She had seen life change from having outhouses to having indoor plumbing and multiple bathrooms in every home.
I had a great-grandmother live from 1867 to 1984. That's all the way from Reconstruction to the Reagan Era. I can only imagine what it must have been like experiencing that level of change; she was alive when the light bulb was invented, for Christ's sake. Unfortunately, I was only three when she died, so I never had the opportunity to speak with her.

Janus
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The average life expectancy in the US. was 47 years.
And my Grandfather turned turned 51, and in three years would sire my Father. (not bad for someone 7 yrs older than average life expectancy.)

Of course, the reason the life expectancy was so low was because of the high infant mortality rate.

loseyourname
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Regarding the life expectancy, aside from the great-grandmother that lived to be 117, all of my relatives from my father's side that were alive in 1905 lived to at least 90. Those on my mother's side seem to have all met unfortunate fates at a relatively young age.

Staff Emeritus
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A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars

What cost $11.00 in 1905 would cost$225.76 in 2005.
http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi

which is about the same price as a phone call to Cleo.

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Staff Emeritus
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Do you have a point or is this just some kind of compulsion? :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Ivan Seeking said:
Do you have a point
This urban legend was 327% more popular last year — at least, so far. Maybe we will catch up to the Year 2000 total.

Pengwuino said:
Hmm... i wonder how far back were the last bill design changes for various denominations are... Itd be cool to get a years salary in this time and go back in time to see how much more you can buy :D
Heh, if you can get people to ignore the "printed in 200x" caption, then that just might work.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
This urban legend was 327% more popular last year — at least, so far. Maybe we will catch up to the Year 2000 total.
Then why don't you just make your point and post one pertinent link. I said this was just an email. And I didn't even see where the \$11 price is refuted. But I did see where some of the statements are confirmed; such as that Az wasn't even a state yet.

Staff Emeritus
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At the least, a responsible person would make a clear point and post a specific link for each objection. A page full of unexplained links is utter silliness and smacks of a person problem.

Ivan Seeking said:
I did see where some of the statements are confirmed; such as that Az wasn't even a state yet.
The states part of the urban legend will have to be changed in 2007.

Moonbear
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The states part of the urban legend will have to be changed in 2007.
In 2007, the states that were not part of the Union in 1905 won't have suddenly become part of the union in 1905, unless someone's planning to travel back in time and change history. If it's factually accurate, it's not urban legend.

How the 'What a difference a century makes' urban legend works

Moonbear said:
In 2007, the states that were not part of the Union in 1905
...will have become one less in number in urban legends referencing dates one century previous since the year referenced will be 1907 and in that year Oklahoma was admitted to the union as the 46th state. As you can see from this post...

...this urban legend referenced the year 1900 in the year 2000, the year 1901 in the year 2001, the year 1902 in the year 2002, the year 1903 in the year 2003, the year 1904 in the year 2004, and the year 1905 in the year 2005. It can be predicted that it will reference the year 1906 in the year 2006, the year 1907 in the year 2007, the year 1908 in the year 2008, and the year 1909 in the year 2009.

If it's factually accurate, it's not urban legend.
It may or may not be factually accurate, though evidence seems to indicate that it is not (see below). According to the Loompanics Encyclopedia of Urban Legends, urban legends can be factually accurate and still qualify as urban legends.

All of the numerical statistics of this urban legend stay the same from 1900 through 1905, the years this urban legend has so far (e.g., in the year 2000, this urban legend claimed the statistics were for the year 1900, in the year 2001 it claimed the statistics were for the year 1901, etc.) stated it is citing statistic for. Perhaps there were not really 230 murders reported in each of the years 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, and 1905?

The facts that are easy to check, such as the number of states, are accurate. The hard-to-check facts that reference things that should vary from year to year, instead stay the same every year and thus appear to be inaccurate.

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Monique
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Ivan Seeking said:
And I forwarded this from someone else without typing it myself, and sent it to you in a matter of seconds! Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years...it staggers the mind.
This point still stands, technologically a lot has changed since 1905. I like Moonbear's story. Just think what they'll think of us in 100 years

arildno
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Ivan Seeking said:
There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.
Hence, in many ways it was a better society than US of today.

Monique said:
This point still stands, technologically a lot has changed since 1905. I like Moonbear's story. Just think what they'll think of us in 100 years
1905 saw 5 brilliant papers change the face of physics.
2105 will gawk at the million crankpot theories developed in Theory Development Section of Physics Forum.

-- AI
P.S -> I want extra karma points for this!

EnumaElish