25 Things You Wouldn’t Believe Your Eyes That Were Actually Scandalous A Hundred Years Ago

Human beings as a whole have evolved throughout the history of time, and that stands true for the last hundred years as well. We not only planted a flag on the moon and killed Hitler, but we also managed to get over our fear of thinking tomatoes were actually apples that were poisoned or the fear of seeing women wearing pants! It’s actually true. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Below, we have compiled a list of 25 things that were actually considered scandalous not so long ago, but are completely considered normal now. Before any further ado, let’s jump right into it!



We all love the thrill of speeding, and it’s not necessarily that only Tom Cruise does in his movies. However, this dangerous act of going way beyond the speeding limits and defying death wasn’t actually a thing a hundred years ago. In fact, the world’s first speeding ticket was given to an Ohio based person in 1904 who was going at a speed of twelve miles an hour! Yes, we are not making that up – it’s actually true.

In fact, some people were scared of these machines that they believed they could actually choke us to death in the worst case, or cause moral decline! Not to mention the fact that people were even against the trains during the 19th century.



Reading in bed

While most of us enjoy reading a nice book with a cup of coffee as the day draws to a close in our bed, it wasn’t actually a thing hundred years ago! According to an editorial published in The Family Monitor in the year 1832, reading in one’s bed was akin to challenging and mocking God himself, and that it would lead to a calamity that none could understand. Really? I never thought that far. However, jokes aside, the real reason why people were so paranoid about it because people often dozed off to sleep and the candles caught fire at times – killing them.



Women wearing pants

You wouldn’t believe if we told you the fact that in the Gold Rush-era, a woman in San Francisco had to actually bribe the local alderman for allowing her to wear pants, and not arresting her! Sounds unbelievable, right? Well, it’s actually true. Women wearing pants was not acceptable, and in fact, the very first time a women’s pants were introduced, they were named ridiculously as “Freedom-Alls”. The look and feel of them was ridiculous, as well, with a very comfortable design that included a tunic with a belt that was to be worn over harem pants. Things, thankfully, are not bizarre anymore – at least with the pants.



Teenagers driving cars

The biggest concern modern-day parents have is what if their teenage child drinks and drives, or texts while driving and causes an accident. Back in the early 1920s, though, a kid with a car was probably the best clue that you should ask your kid to stay away.




The first thing most people knew about electricity was Thomas Edison electrocuting a poor elephant! So, it’s a no-brainer that most people were actually paranoid of using electricity in their homes, as they felt it would electrocute them. If the fear of being fried like eggs wasn’t enough, the fact that it would make the kids and women vulnerable while they were alone, was another possible fear people had. Some even believed that it would actually help burglars know which house to rob, as the one having lights on would have people living in it!



Sending kids to school

Back in early 1900s, only around fifty percent of kids who were between the age of five and nineteen were actually enrolled in schools. And out of those who were actually enrolled, most of them actually decided to call it quits after the eighth grade! And while talking about compulsory education, one Democrat from Iowa went on to call it an anti-American, anti-Democratic thing to force kids to go to school. Well, one thing is for sure – hearing that statement, we now know who really didn’t want to go to school in his childhood!



Using umbrellas

When Jonas Hanway – a Brit who decided to walk the streets of London with an umbrella over his head in the mid-nineteenth century, he was frowned upon and people threw all sorts of things at him. Some even tried to run him over with their motorcars! The history books of today fondly remember him as the brave man who first used an umbrella. In the modern-day, ironically, umbrella is a must if you’re in England, thanks to the everchanging weather that can surprise you with rain any moment!



Drugs as a solution to all your problems

If you told a man hundred years ago that using drugs like cocaine and heroin was not the real solution to the problems he was facing, you would be laughed upon. It wasn’t just okay to use these drugs, even doctors would prescribe them! Yes, doctors. In fact, cocaine was one of the ingredients used in the cough syrup that was available as over-the-counter medicine! Sigmund Freud, a well-known neurologist and psychologist, actually went on to say that cocaine was the best thing ever to treat depression and indigestion, and should be consumed by all. Well, clearly, he was high on something when he said all that!



Singing national anthem before a sports event

If you actually got up from your seat at a sporting event a hundred year ago, it would be to get the nearest hot dog vendors attention, not to sing the national anthem. Yes, a hundred year ago, standing up and singing the national anthem at a sporting event wasn’t exactly a thing.




During the early 18th century, tomatoes were actually known as ‘poison apples’ because a few aristocrats, who ate them fell ill. However, the actual reason why they fell ill was because of the fact that they were eating from pewter plates, which had a high amount of lead. In fact, this perception of tomatoes continued late until the 19th century, when the notable poet Emerson went on to call it an item of terror and poison, and that no sane person should ever eat or even touch it! The reality, obviously, is the fact that all this cannot be further from the truth. And in fact, tomatoes are one of the best fruits to actually eat if you want to stay young for long!



Lack of pubic hair

If we consider the early Romans and Greeks as exceptions, then a bushy pubic region was a norm. It was such a culturally accepted thing back in the day, that in 1450s, when the prostitutes had to shave off the pubic hair, they were asked to wear merkins – a wig for the lower body! Imagine that with the modern-day, when reportedly 84 percent of women shave off their pubic hair.




When bikini was invented by the French creator Louis Reard, using only thirty inches of fabric, he was unable to find even one fashion model who would wear his invention in public. Finally, he found a nineteen-year-old stripper who decided to don his new invention, as wearing a fabric on the body was actually a career promotion for her. In fact, Modern Girl magazine went on to state that any sane and decent girl or woman would not wear ‘such a thing’ ever. That, obviously, didn’t turn out to be true and we have women from all across the world wearing bikinis now.



Purple color

You wouldn’t believe the fact that Boston Globe published an article in 1903 titled ‘list of colors that would drive your brain to madness’! The article went on to describe the color purple as the most dangerous color – ever. According to the article, if a person was to be locked in a room having purple walls and red windows for a month, he would go mad and would never return to normalcy! Now of course we know that it is not true. In fact, purple as a color is a lot of people’s favorite one.



Horseless carriages

Go a hundred years back, and you would end up reading people advocating the use of horse carriages instead of cars. One such article in a leading newspaper went on to compare the price of harness with the tires used in cars! The article went on to argue for horse-driven wagons stating that unlike cars, a horse doesn’t have a carburetor that is out of order all the time! Further, it goes on to add that a horse carriage is the right way to travel – whether it is snow or mud.



Radiation as a drink!

Well, adding to the list of bizarre things people a century ago consumed, radiation is another thing. Yes, if you told anyone that radiation drink wasn’t exactly a healthy smoothie, they wouldn’t believe you – especially steel mogul Eben Byers. His story was covered in The Wall Street Journal, which noted that he drank three bottles of radiation a day until he finally died! The headline, which the newspaper ran was ‘The radium water actually worked until his jaws came off’!




You might actually think that coffee is God’s true creation, as it not only satisfies your tongue, but also keeps you energetic. However, this wasn’t the case in the 18th century, when Catholics actually called it ‘Satan’s creation’ and a ‘Devil’s drink’! We all know how far away from the truth they were. Today, not a single day goes by when people don’t have a cup of coffee.




Unlike today, women were suggested to follow a list of bullet points mentioned in an 1896 article! Yes, you read that right. The women were suggested not to coast, as it was too dangerous. The list goes on to add that they should have avoided wearing any jewelry or tight garters, and should refrain from refusing help of a chivalrous man who feels pity for the woman and wants to help push the bicycle up a hill. The most surprising one was the request not to make a ‘bicycle face’, which referred to the worried, haggard expression.



Taking showers daily

If we told you that taking a bath was a special event a century ago, you would probably laugh it off as a joke – but it’s true! A hundred years ago, it was considered a special occasion, something one would do on a weekend, preferably. In fact, regular bathing didn’t become a norm until the late 20th century, because of the aggressive sales and advertisements of grooming products. One such advertisement was titled ‘There is self-respect in using SOAP and WATER’!



Living up to 100 years

In the year 1900, the American life expectancy was only 48.8 years! Obviously today things have changed, and the life expectancy has risen to 79, but in those years, the chance of reaching 100 was laughable – a phenomenon not unbelievable anymore. In fact, according to the government agencies, the people who have crossed the age of 100 has risen by a surprising forty three percent over the last two decades alone! So, being a supercentenarian isn’t impossible anymore, and certainly won’t make people consider you a biblical character unlike in those old days.



Public transportation

The holding straps in subways that we hold on to so dearly, were actually not a thing in the year 1912! According to one editorial published in the Chicago Sunday Tribune, they could very well cause injury to your internal organs! Thankfully, people are not paranoid about holding the straps anymore.



Smoking bans

Up until the early 1960s, in fact, you could smoke anywhere you wanted to! Yes, that’s right. There were no ‘no smoking’ zones as yet. One could smoke in a movie theater, a restaurant, or heck, even in a hospital! The only place people found smoking to be irritating was the church, elevators and classrooms. So, if you actually told a 1917 guy about the future, where one cannot smoke in bars and a zombie apocalypse, chances are he will believe the latter to be truer!



Women having tattoos

Around a hundred years ago, if you had a tattoo on your body, you were most likely to be a criminal or a shady person. It was associated mainly with the sailors, prostitutes and criminals. So, unless you worked for a circus or at a brothel, chances are nobody would accept women having tattoos on their bodies. Well, this perception no longer holds true and every one has a tattoo now. In fact, according to a recent survey, there are more women having tattoos than men!




Not because of any health risks such as heart diseases or diabetes associated with drinking soda, but because there was a perception that women could convert into harlots if they consumed soda! Yes, exactly this was the line of reasoning given by the US Food and Drug Department, when they seized fifty barrels of Coca-Cola in the year 1911. According the authorities, it would turn the ladies into ‘wild nocturnal freaks’, and make them violate college rules and also partake ‘immoral activities’! Thanks to the advance in science, we know soda isn’t exactly a health drink, but due to vastly different reasons.




The Washington Post reported in the year 1926 how a young girl of 17 years old died due to dancing. Yes, you read that right! According to her family doctor, the shear stress on the body due to the moving of hands and legs in all directions made her die, and that women should not dance because of that. Well, we haven’t heard of any other case of a woman who died while twerking, have we?



Having a five-figure salary that included health benefits

In the year 1915, the average annual salary of an American was $617, which when adjusted for inflation comes at $16,107 a year. However, expecting your job to have the health benefits included wasn’t a thing until the 1940s, when the IRS actually began allowing tax relief for employer-based healthcare. So, if one would have asked his would-be boss if the job came with dental care, he would have rolled on the floor laughing!