Changes of a century

Published 10:38 pm Thursday, February 19, 2009

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Ruby Wegener of Clanton, who is 101 years old and still healthy. That’s right. She was born in 1908, in a world much different from what we know today.

Mrs. Wegener sent me some statistics from the year 1908 that are very interesting to think about. I am not sure where this information originated, but I hope you find it as interesting as I did:

In 1908, the average life expectancy was 47 years.

Only 14 percent of homes had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of homes had a telephone.

There were only 8,000 cars and just 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, and the average worker made between $200 and $400 per year, although a dentist could make as much as $2,500.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.

Ninety percent of all doctors had no college education (if that’s true, then that’s scary).

Sugar cost 4 cents a pound, eggs were 14 cents a dozen, and coffee was 15 cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

The leading causes of death were pneumonia and influenza, tuberculosis, diarrhea, heart disease and stroke.

The American Flag had 45 stars.

The population of Las Vegas was only 30.

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet.

Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write, and only six percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter.

There were about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.

How things can change in 100 years.