Life expectancy was about 47 years, 14% of American houses had bathtubs and 18% had a least one full-time servant. A three-minute telephone call from Denver, CO to New York City was eleven dollars. The American flag had only 45 stars since Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska were not yet states. Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa and Tennessee had a combined population of 1.4 million.
California was ranked as the twenty-first most populous state in the Union and the tallest building in the World was the Eiffel Tower.
The economy was great and almost everyone had a chicken in their cook pot. The average wage was 22 cents an hour and most Americans made $200 to $400 per year. Accountants made $2,000; dentists brought in about $2,500; veterinarians grossed $1,500 to $4,000; and mechanical engineers made around $5,000. This is likely the only time in history of America that veterinarians and engineers made more money than medical doctors. In fact, most doctors had no education or they attended medical schools considered substandard by the government.
Killer diseases in 1900 included: pneumonia, influenza, tuberculosis, strokes and heart disease. Many children died at birth or before they reached five or six years of age because of a lack of proper medical assistance and drugs. Insulin, sulfa drugs, penicillin and antibiotics hadn't been discovered and the common treatment for everything was bed rest and quiet. The words inoculation and vaccination weren't in medical dictionaries. Chicken pox could also be serious. A vaccine for this childhood disease wasn't approved for use in the US until the late 1900s.
About one in ten Americans could read and write, and only about 6% graduated from high school. There was no Mother's or Father's Day. For entertainment, young boys rode wildly around town on horse back shooting at houses and buggies or anything else that caught their fancy.
Food was reasonably priced and people living in 1900 could afford to eat well. Sugar was 4 cents a pound, coffee was 15 cents per pound and eggs were 14 cents a dozen. There was no soap, except homemade type, which usually contained lye.
Women washed their hair in borax or egg yolk shampoo or a mixture of the two.
Iced tea, canned beer, paper towels, plastic wrap and scotch tape hadn't been invented. However, a primitive punch card computer had been developed that helped the government compile the 1900 census.
So, let's not complain, maybe we don't have it so bad in the new millennium.