Feb. 8 marks the 106th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. That’s more than a century of citizenship, character development, self-reliance, adventure and more.
But the world — and the life of a Scout — was far different in February 1910 when the BSA was founded. See how much has changed below:
On the Big Screen
Movies in 1910 were silent and short — most lasted fewer than 17 minutes. Small theaters called nickelodeons would show moving pictures all day for an entrance fee of 5 cents. A live organist or pianist provided the soundtrack.
In 1910, most families didn’t own a record player (and CDs, tapes and MP3s were decades away). Instead, they would buy sheet music, gather around a piano and sing along together.
Books like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Red Badge of Courage were popular in 1910. Horatio Alger’s 135 novels, mostly about adventurous boys, were also favorites.
Many boys worked full-time, year-round. Even guys as young as 7 or 8 worked alongside their parents in factories, mines and fields, up to 12 hours per day.
Just for Fun
Kids in 1910 played with Erector Sets, Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys and board games. For something a little more active, table tennis, tennis and croquet were trendy, as were bicycles.
If you love football, basketball and hockey, you might have hated 1910. The NFL, NBA and NHL didn’t exist. Major League Baseball did, and the Philadelphia
Athletics defeated the Chicago Cubs in the seventh World Series. Three players tied for the MLB lead in home runs — with 10.
Tweets Were for Birds
No Twitter. No Facebook or Skype, or even e-mail. To update your “status,” you’d send a letter (with a 2-cent stamp). Seven million Americans “subscribed” to
telephone service. News arrived through newspapers and magazines. Television was years away, and the first radio broadcasts were just starting to creep over the airwaves.
On the Road
People used trolleys, bicycles and horse-drawn carriages to get around. The automobile had just arrived, which created traffic problems. To help, San Francisco and Cincinnati posted speed limits of 8 miles per hour. Everyone debated: Which is better, the horse or the car? Most agreed the horse worked best off road, while the car worked best in cities — mostly because it helped get rid of the manure stench. Ninety-five percent of city-to-city travel was on trains.
Most Americans lived in places without electricity. Some didn’t want it. They thought electricity would cause fires, explosions, electrocutions … and freckles.
Fast Facts: 1910
• A wildfire burned 3 million acres across Idaho, Washington and Montana in August 1910.
• The United States flag flew with 46 stars. New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii had yet to become states.
• Halley’s Comet breezed past Earth on April 20, 1910. It didn’t appear again until 1986.
• Theodore Roosevelt became the first former president to ride in an airplane.
• Henry Ford sold 20,000 cars.
• You could buy a Coca-Cola for 5 cents, a box of Corn Flakes for 9 cents or a movie ticket for just a nickel. In 2008, the average movie ticket cost $7.18.
• The entire United States population totaled 92 million (today: about 320 million).