February 15, 2010

100 Years Ago

by Vickie McDonough

Being a historical writer, I’m always interested in learning about the past. A friend recently gave me a fascinating paper that told what things were like 100 years ago.
I researched some other items and thought it would be fun to share them with you.

Oh, how things have changed!!

(Note: my comments are in parentheses)

The average life expectancy was 47 years

Only 8% of homes had a telephone
Only 14% of homes had a bathtub

A boy's suit was $1.45-4.00                
A girl's gingham dress was .49
A woman's blouse was .29-3.98 
A woman's house dress was .89-1.79 
A men's suit was $5.50-22.50 

Sugar was .04/lb
Eggs were .14/lb
Coffee was .15/lb
Beef, Sirloin steak was .16/lb
Butter, fancy creamery, .39/lb
A roasting chicken was .22/lb
Ice cream .10/pint, .35/quart, .45/neapolitan brick quart

Cough syrup, Jayne's Expectorant was .25-1.00/bottle
Large size hair pins were .07/250 count pkg

A shoeshine was .05/person
Toilet paper was .05/2 rolls (Didn’t they use old catalogs?)

Leading causes of death:
1.      Pneumonia & Influenza
2.      Tuberculosis
3.      Diarrhea
4.      Heart disease
5.      Stroke
(Pretty interesting, huh?)

A Puritan carpet sweeper was, 1.65/each
A refrigerator: 24 ½ " wide X 16 ½ " deep X 39" high was $6.00

2 out of 10 Americans couldn’t read or write, and only 6% were
    high school graduates

The average hourly wage 22 cents
An average worker's pay was $200-400 a year

90% of all doctors had no college education (Gulp!)
95% of births were at home

There were only 230 reported murders in all of the United States (Wow! Or maybe that means most murders went unrecorded.)

Crosswords puzzles and iced tea hadn't been invented

Most women only washed their hair once a month (shampoo usually Borax or egg yolks). (Ewww!)

There were only 8000 cars in the United States with 144 miles of paved roads, and the only place you could buy fuel for cars was in a drug store. (I need to fill my prescription and my car, please)

The population of Las Vegas, NV was only 30.

Pretty amazing, isn’t it? Which of these surprised you the most?

On April 1st my first trade fiction book releases. It’s called The Anonymous Bride and is the first book in my Texas Boardinghouse Brides series. It’s the story of a town marshal who suddenly has three mail-order brides show up in town, each expecting to marry him. But he didn’t order a bride.  

Meet Luke Davis, marshal of Lookout, Texas, who flippantly tells his cousin he’d get married if the right woman ever came along. When three mail-order brides are delivered to Luke a month later, he’s in an uncomfortable predicament. How will he ever choose his mate? 

Rachel Hamilton’s long-time love for Luke is reignited with his return to town. So when three mail-order brides appear, she panics. 

Will she find the courage to tell Luke that she loves him? Or take an anonymous part in the contest for his hand?

Check out my website for more information: www.vickiemcdonough.com


Karen Witemeyer said...

Fun info, Vickie. I think the one that most surprised me was that Diarrhea was the third leading cause of death. Who woulda thought?

Congrats on your new book. Can't wait to read it!

Vickie McDonough said...


I thought the was odd too.

Thanks for the congrats!!

Susan Page Davis said...

Thanks, Vickie! Very interesting. Of course that diarrhea was probably linked to other disease that wasn't on the death certificate. Thank you for reminding us of what life was really like in 1910. And I love the Anonymous Bride!

Vickie McDonough said...

Yeah, I bet it came from drinking water with all kinds of yucky stuff in it.

I'm so glad you enjoyed The Anonymous Bride. I'm excited about its release.