More people (3% of the world’s population) died in the 1918 influenza pandemic than in both world wars combined.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Las Vegas, Nevada, had a population of 30.
Before the First World War, the tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
In the early 20th century, coal was cheap, about 1 pound a ton, so burning a hundredweight of coal a day was quite the norm, and there were almost no regulations regarding pollution, either.
The First World War saw the first consistently safe blood transfusions.
Marriage at the turn of the 20th century was the power base from which a woman could take charge of her own life. Otherwise, she’d be trapped in her father’s home even though she could not claim a single brick of it.
The Battle of the Somme, which lasted from July until November, 1916, still remains one of the deadliest battles ever seen: almost half a million British soldiers were killed in this offensive—more even than throughout the course of the Second World War.
Before 1914 France’s air corps was larger than all the other air forces in the world put together. They had three-dozen planes, while Germany, Britain, Italy, Russia, Japan, and Austria had four planes each in their fleets. The United States only had two planes.
At the beginning of the 20th century, two out of every ten adults couldn’t read or write, and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Only women who were over 30 and a householder got the right to vote in Britain in 1919, which meant women over 30 still living at home—and most unmarried women lived at home—or women in domestic service did not get the right to vote because they were not householders.
The trend for feathered hats was at its height in popularity from about 1890 to 1920. In the early 1900s, however, the fashion soon reached a point of excess, and the Audubon Society, protesting the slaughter of birds for their feathers, called for an end to the trade of wild birds. Around the same time, Queen Mary of England publicaly denounced the use of feathers in millinery.
In 1908 the first Times Square Ball was dropped from the flagpole atop One Times Square. It was made of wood and iron, weighed 700 pounds, and was lit by a hundred 25-watt bulbs.
The first hair dryers were created by a woman who moved the hose attachment from the front of a vacuum cleaner to the back, so that air would blow out instead of in.
In 1903 only 18 cities had public playgrounds.
In 1914, Vaudeville was the one field in which women commanded a higher wage than men. A female headliner could earn as much as three thousand dollars a week or more. Even a newcomer, however, could earn one hundred dollars a week. This was an amazing amount of money considering that women’s work in other fields paid significantly less. In 1917, for example, a teacher might earn fifty dollars a month or just under seven hundred dollars a year.
Brittan lost 2/3 of its male population in World War One, and the number was even higher in Germany and France.
Britain alone lost over 300,000 horses in World War One, which hastened the mechanization of the country.
In 1917 when the U.S. entered World War One, the U.S. Navy had only 160 nurses on active duty.
The Navajo Code Talkers of WWII weren’t the first time American forces employed Native American language in war. The Choctaw language was used by American forces in WWI, because Germany intercepted allied messages with ease. The original members came from the Oklahoma National Guard. They were Solomon Louis, Mitchell Bobb, Ben Carterby, Robert Taylor, Jeff Nelson, Pete Maytubby, James Edwards, and Calvin Wilson.
In 1911, Cal Rodgers was the first to complete a flight across the U.S. He flew a Wright brothers biplane called a Vin Fiz Flyer and was accompanied with a ground crew consisting of this mother, a maid, his chauffeur, three mechanics, and a dozen marketing men.
On August 7, 1908, Alice Ramsey, the first woman to drive an automobile from coast-to-coast, rolled into San Francisco. It took her 59 days to complete the journey.
A chemist named Thomas Williams created the first commercial mascara in 1915. He blended Vaseline and coal dust, first for his sister Mabel, and then marketed it as Maybelline (Mabel and Vaseline.)
After World War One, one-fifth of the land in Scotland came on the market, because there was no one left to inherit.
In the winter of 1910, the Tango became the new scandalous dance craze to sweep across America.
Although there were approximately two hundred thousand African American troops serving in World War One, Addie Waites Hutton was one of only three American women of color to serve with the American troops in Europe during the war.
The 369th Infantry Regiment, commonly referred to as the Harlem Hellfighters, was an infantry regiment of the New York Army National Guard during WWI. It consisted mainly of African Americans. The French called the regiment the Men of Bronze. During WWI, the unit spent 191 days in front line trenches. No other American unit ever reached this length of time. They also suffered the most losses of any American regiment, with 1,500 casualties.
The AMA did not recognize women doctors trained at a women’s college and would not do so until 1915.
The first doctor to use incubators for premature babies was the French gynecologist Stéphane Tarnier, who copied the idea from a zoo in Paris in which incubators were used to keep newborn chicks at the right temperature. It occurred to Tarnier that this system could serve to prevent babies from dying of hypothermia in the cold hospitals of the late 19th century. Despite the criticism received by colleagues who, at that time, did not understand that blankets or hot water bottles were not enough to keep the children alive, the obstetrician managed to convince his peers that his invention worked. By the early 20th century, those primitive incubators had been refined by adding individual thermostats and improved ventilation systems.
During WWI, British soldiers had to be 19 years old. Over 250,000 lied about their age to serve overseas. The youngest discovered was 12.