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Thursday, July 3, 2008

About my father

My father Patrick was born on St. Patrick's Day (March 17th, 1908) and died on October 7th, 1991. He would have been 100 years old this year.

The photo on the right was taken in 1925.

Here are some more photos...

To put the passage of a century into perspective, below are some interesting statistics about the United States around the year 1908:

- Life expectancy was 47 years old
- Only 14% of households had a bathtub
- Only 8% of homes had a telephone (a three minute call from Denver to NYC cost $11)
- The first Model T Fords rolled off the line in Detroit
- There were only 8,000 automobiles and only 144 miles of paved roads.
- The max speed limit was 10 mph
- The population of CA was 1.4 million
- The population of Las Vegas, NV was 30
- The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower
- The average wage in the US was 22 cents per hour, and average workers earned $200 - $400 per year
- Sugar cost 4 cents per pound, eggs 14 cents per dozen, and coffee 15 cents per pound
- A first-class US postage stamp cost 2 cents
- The unemployment rate is 8%, and Federal spending runs at $0.66 billion
- More than 95% of births took place at home
- Only 6% of all Americans had graduated form high school
- There were about 230 reported murders in the entire country that year
- Fountain pens, first invented for practical use by Lewis Edson Waterman in New York City in 1884, began to catch on with the public
- Population of the US was 88,710,000. (it was estimated to be 305,986,357 on July 1st 2007)

Other people who were born in 1908:

Alistair Cooke
Bette Davis
Jimmy Stewart
John Kenneth Galbraith
Lawrence Welk
Elliott Carter
Olivier Messiaen
Rex Harrison
Thurgood Marshall
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Richard Wright
Amy Vanderbilt

World events of 1908:

- President Roosevelt holds White House Conservation Conference, which leads to establishment of the National Conservation Commission.
On January 11, 1908, Roosevelt declares the massive Grand Canyon in northwestern Arizona a national monument

- The 1908 Olympic Games were originally scheduled to be hosted by Rome, but the 1906 eruption of Mount Vesuvius caused the Games to be relocated to London.

- Earthquake and resulting tsunami kill 70,000 to 100,000 in southern Italy and Sicily.
- The first horror film, a 16 minute one-reel version of Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, was released. Many subsequent versions of the movie would later appear.

- The FBI originated from a force of Special Agents created in 1908 by Attorney General Charles Bonaparte during the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt

- Most popular song of the year: "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"

- Arnold Schoenberg releases his song cycle "Book of Hanging Gardens"

- The Great Auto Race of 1908

- Petroleum production starts in Middle East

- On Dec. 26 Jack Johnson, 30, defeated heavyweight champion Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia
- In 1908, passenger flight took a turn for the worse when the first fatal air crash occurred on September 17. Orville Wright was piloting the plane and survived the crash, but his passenger, Signal Corps Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge, did not. The Wright Brothers had been allowing passengers to fly with them since May 14, 1908. (The first successful, powered, piloted flight in history was five years earlier in 1903).

- A mysterious explosion in Siberia levels hundreds of square miles of forest. Explanations include a comet, meteorite, natural atomic explosion, or crashed UFO

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