Thursday, August 26, 2010

1910 - when great grandma was a bride - and a giveaway!!!!

The difference a century  makes!
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Here are some statistics for the Year 1910:

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The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.  This was partly due to the many deaths from industrial and farm accidents. 
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.   Average folks took their bath in a washtub in the kitchen, which is where the hot water was.... on the woodfired stove!  Modesty required that a sheet was draped around the 'bathing area', or sometimes it was draped over the tub itself.  If you were single you probably lived in a boarding house and shared a bathroom with all the other residents.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.   (Guess which 8% that was!)  and you had to 'ring' the operator to place a call - area codes came much later!

There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads. Fuel for a car was sold in drug stores only.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph,  and most folks still got around on horses.
BUT, if the family owned a car, it was the focus of any family portrait...
and no, this is not my family, we didn't own a car until the 60's!  Notice the youngest member of this family is behind the wheel?  Nope, no age limits on driving in those days, either!

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower

England's King Edward VII died that year, marking the official end of the 'Edwardian Era'.

The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.   Child laborers made 3 cents an hour.  City children were expected to leave school by age 12 to help support the family.  Rural children stayed out of school during planting time and harvest to help in the fields.

The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year, and the average workday was 12 hrs. There was no such thing as 'overtime' pay, either!

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 took place at HOME.   My great grandma was a midwife - after the birth, the midwife stayed on for up to a month until the new mother was back on her feet, or until another mother went into labor and needed her services.  Remember, there wasn't much info available about birth control, either!  Chances were good that there would be an annual visit by the midwife  ...and again, most birthing was actually done in the kitchen, because that's where the stove was.  Houses didn't have central heating, and the bedrooms would usually be too cold.

Nursing schools were in hospitals.  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.'   However, doctors did make house calls - they often didn't even have offices!

Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.  (and there were no inspection standards at the time - they were 'candled' to check for freshness; a growing chick in the egg would show as a shadow when you held the egg up to the light of a candle.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound, and you took the beans home and roasted/ground them yourself.

Most women only washed their hair once a month (or less), 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:
  1. Pneumonia and influenza
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Heart disease
  5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars .... (There may have been only 45 stars on the flag but there were 46 states.)

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!!!!

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented yet.   Iced anything was rare, as ice was delivered on a wagon, packed in sawdust if you lived in a city.  It had probably been cut from a local river the previous winter and stored in an 'icehouse' until it was needed in Summer to keep the 'ice box' cool.  Most folks didn't have refrigerators, either!  Would you drink tea with river water in it?

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day....   and there were no paid holidays!

Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school....and those who did were considered qualified to TEACH!!!

Most folks could do basic math though.
Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help ...  room and board were considered most of their wages.

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A. !

...and home sewing was done on a treadle (self-propelled) sewing machine!

and if the house was too hot or crowded, you could take it outside!  they still have them - just ask the Amish!

Corsets went from having unnaturally tiny waists to a 'natural' waist.  My great grandma wore a corset until the 1970's - but she NEVER called it a corset!  undies were really unmentionable, remember?  no - they were referred to as 'stays' if referred to at all!  and they were expensive, too, so a lady only could afford one, and she wore it all the time - even when doing the spring cleaning, or playing tennis!

This post is in honor of my Great Grandmother, Anna Louira Allison, who was born in August, 1884.  She passed away at the age of 100 and left me with many fond memories and a lot of 'common sense' education.
She taught me to sew on a treadle sewing machine - and taught me how to maintain it and change the belt, which turned the wheel, which moved when you rocked the foot 'rest'.  I learned curved piecing on the treadle, as well as how to piece a Bethlehem Star which was all cut with scissors from a cardboard template cut with a razor blade from a cereal box.  Cotton fabric was 36" wide and cost $0.39 a yard, or 3 yards for a dollar the year she taught me to sew.

To commemorate the education (and a lot of great stories) my great grandma instilled in me I am giving away a FREE CLASS of your choice at Quilting Weekly - winner will be drawn at random from everyone who posts a response to this blog post.  There are 18 classes to choose from and even a free lesson!

deadline for giveaway posting is August 31, 2010

Do you have a great memory from your great grandma?... and if you still have a great grandma - give her a hug from me!
but remember to leave a comment before you go -   8-)


  1. I don't remember much about my greatgrandma. I was only about 4 when my last greatgrandma died. I do remember her holding me in the front yard (or perhaps I saw the photo and think I remember it). She was an excellent seamstress and quilt maker. I have a few quilt tops that she helped make. I've been told that my artistic and crafty talents come her and her daughter (my maternal grandma).

  2. My great grandmother on my granddad's side didnt like to be called any such endearment - we called her Big Mama. I only remember that she was bed ridden. Both my maternal & paternal grandmothers, however, were very wonderful women, and both talented in their own rites. My maternal side grandma was talented with the needles, knitting and painting. While the other cooked, baked, and worked a farm. I miss them every day.

  3. Unfortunately neither of my Great Grandmas were around by the time I was born, but both of my children were lucky enough to have one great grandma to enjoy for their 1st 12/15 years, before the Lord took her home. She was a pistol and shared her stories of growing up in the South, picking cotton to help support her family and the death of her Mother when she was just a child. She's also the person who taught me how to crochet.I still miss her, but am thankful to ahve benn blessed with this woman in my and my childrens lives.

  4. My great grandmas were long gone by the time I came along. My grandma has told me stories about her mom, how she taught her how to cook over a wood stove and can food so they had enough for the winter, things like that. I have seen a picture of her, too. I wish she had been around, she sounds like quite a character.

    Sandy A

  5. I didn't know any of my great grandmas, but my grandma was born in 1885. She taught me to sew on her treadle machine and my cousin and I shared the bedroom with the machine during our high school years. We both lived on farms but stayed with Grandma Mon-Fri to go to school. I still have the apron she made for me to wear when we ate our meals at her home. Didn't want to mess up our school clothes during breakfast & lunch. We walked home every day for lunch. My grandma lived to 106 years.

  6. More, Thea, more! I don't remember anything about her. Not even sure I saw her? I do have a note she wrote my mother. On the card is a picture of the church where her 3 children were baptized.


  7. My great grandmother lived until 86, I met her but don't recall what age I was when she passed away. Her daughter, my grandmother lived until just before her 93rd birthday. She was born in 1899 as was her husband. Sadly he passed at age 76 in 1977. My mom, is 85 and has 4 grandchildren and the first granddaughter just got engaged!

    I used to have a treadle sewing machine which belong to my dad's mom, but sadly it was given away when we moved. I love sewing on it and also learned to use one in my grade school.

  8. Unfortunately, I never knew either of my great-grandmothers. I read quite a few blogs & have seen many giveaways, but never a class. What a neat giveaway!

    -debby, Chester NY

  9. Every visit to Ma and Pa Smith's house included tea time with Pa's treasured scottish shortbread. Ma would always take us aside, slip us a quarter and say, "don't tell Pa". Then Pa would take us aside, slip us another quarter and say, "don't tell Ma". They were so sweet! Ma Smith lived to be 96 years old.

  10. One of my great grandmas was around when I was small. She scared me - had one glass eye that she kept in a glass in the bathroom. She passed away in her 90s. I grew up around all my grandparents. My grandmother taught me to use her treadle (I could already sew) and it sewed wonderfully. Her favorite quilt to make was double wedding ring.

  11. I barely remember my great grandma, she had lost a leg in a train accident. It is kind of morbid and sad because that is pretty much the only thing I can remember about her, she died when I was pretty young.

  12. My grandmother has been my inspiration in all that I do.
    I lived with her from the ages of 3-6 yrs of age. She was so happy when I came to live with her because she got her first electric stove and a real bath tub in her not so modern bathroom. This was about 1956.

    She taught me to crochet, hand embroider, tat, and tie a quilt. There was not a thing she could not do. She made a wedding ring quilt and it went on my bed. I can still see this quilt in my memories but wish I had this item.

    She carried my grandfathers breakfast to him each morning and sat by his bed while he enjoyed it. It was always coffee, cornflakes and a perfect soft boiled egg. A bit of cream for his coffee which he poured over his cereal.

    She was one remarkable woman.


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