“Gee, Mom, Were They All Poor People?” (Mar, 1938)

“Gee, Mom, Were They All Poor People?”

“Not exactly poor, Bobby. They had money. But they didn’t have all the nice things that we have—such as a radio, and electric lights, and a vacuum cleaner. You see, they didn’t have electricity, or automobiles, or airplanes. Most of those things hadn’t even been invented.”

EVEN as late as 1900, only one American home in every seven had a bathtub; one in 13 had a telephone; one home in 30 had electric lights. There were only 8000 automobiles. Manufactured products were scarce and expensive.

Today there are 20 million bathtubs, 18 million telephones, 22 million wired homes, 25, million automobiles, and millions of other manufactured prod-ucts which were unheard of in 1900 but are now plentiful and sell at a fraction of their former cost.

General Electric scientists and engineers, by applying electrical methods to the tasks of industry, have helped to provide us with the many products that contribute to our comfort and convenience, and to the hundreds of services which we enjoy today.

G-E research and engineering have saved the public from ten to one hundred dollarsfor every dollar they have earned for General Electric


  1. Tracy B says: October 26, 20096:01 pm

    What? No computer?

  2. John M. Hanna says: October 26, 20097:24 pm

    Kid in the year 2025: “Gee mom1337, were the people back then poor?”
    Mother in the year 2025: “Not exactly poor, bobby1138. They had money. But they didnt have the nice
    things that we have – such as the nanobots in our bloodstreams, the cyber
    implants in our craniums feeding us information and entertainment 24 hours
    a day, and the protective proton sheild around the earth keeping the
    Vorgoth death armada from disentigrating us. Most of those things hadn’t
    been invented.”

  3. jayessell says: October 27, 200912:21 pm

    Comment #2-

  4. Tracy B says: October 27, 20091:28 pm

    Vorgoths? Any relation to the Vorgons from HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

  5. John M. Hanna says: October 27, 20092:47 pm

    Tracy B

    I think you mean ‘Vogons’. But no, theres no relation to them. I just thought Vorgoth sounded like a good name for a race of evil aliens.

  6. GaryM says: October 27, 20094:47 pm

    They must be a cross between Vogons and Tolkien’s evil god Morgoth.

  7. Tracy B says: October 27, 20096:55 pm

    Well the idea of a Gothic alien sounds good to me. Dark Shadows meets E.T.?

  8. Firebrand38 says: October 27, 20097:01 pm

    Tracy B: Goths are NOT Vampires! http://www.southparkstu…

    (I know, you were talking about Gothic horror….forgive the indulgence but I couldn’t resist)

  9. FJP says: October 28, 20091:44 am

    When my daughter was about 6 or 7 years old — this would have been 1990-91 — she asked me what kind of movies I saw when I was young. In the course of answering her question I explained that going to the movies was a big event, the movie theater was an exciting place downtown, and we couldn’t rent movies and watch them in our living room. She thought about this for a moment and asked me, with a look of great concern on her face, “were you very poor, Daddy?” I was baffled until I realized that she had no concept of a world without VCR’s, at least unless you just couldn’t afford one.

  10. jayessell says: October 28, 20097:13 am

    There was a TV news segment where common objects of the “past”
    (1980s) were shown to kids.
    One was shown an LP.
    “Thats how people played music in the olden days.”

  11. Tracy B says: October 29, 20091:55 pm

    Yep, I wasn’t talking about the Goths and their descendants, rather the 19th century fictitious stuff.

    Besides, I am of Scandinavian ancestry; perhaps some of my ancestors were Goths.

    I didn’t realize that the Goths were defeated by the Huns…..

  12. Paul says: November 2, 20095:18 pm

    LOL…and we wonder how things came to be as they are today. Being wealthy is not important. It’s looking wealthy that matters. As long as you look like you have money, it doesn’t matter if you’re in debt up to your eyeballs

  13. Firebrand38 says: November 2, 20096:20 pm

    Paul: Tell that to bankruptcy court.

  14. jayessell says: November 2, 20098:12 pm

    Those 20ths had it easy!
    I can’t afford to furnish my house in antiques!!

  15. James says: November 4, 20095:25 pm

    Gee if they owned all those antiques, seems like they were pretty rich!

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