Strange Things Everyone Thought Were Normal 100 Years Ago


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Technology – and American cultural norms – have changed at such a blindingly fast pace that we sometimes forget just how weird the world used to be. Things that were once commonplace seem strange today, although it’s probably also true that humans who live 100 years in the future will think the things we do are pretty strange too. Sadly, we don’t have any way to actually show a 22nd-century person a YouTube video of someone eating a Tide Pod. But we can at least enjoy our own bemusement at the strange and bizarre habits of our recent ancestors…

Homes for disobedient wives and other crazy people | 0:32
When ugly was illegal | 1:22
Trick or turkey | 2:14
When cigarettes cured asthma | 3:06
Professional waker-uppers | 4:06
Early 20th-century PowerPoint | 4:56

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The world is pretty weird…in fact, it’s a whole lot weirder than you think. If you haven’t learned something new today, you’re missing out. Grunge is the place to immerse yourself in fun facts and cool tidbits on history, entertainment, science, and plenty more. It’s just like reading books…but exciting!


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  1. I still use some tools that are 100 plus y/o. Modernity v Old School is often word, word, word. People have known smoke inhalation is bad since house fires became a thing.

  2. When I was growing up, the family had a memorial hair wreath that had been in my Mom's family for two-or-three generation. For those who don't know, that's an intricate wreath was made of the hair of loved ones who had died. They were fairly common in the 19th century. Because I'd grown up with it, I didn't see anythng weird about it but when occasionally a friend would ask about it and I explained, they tended to respond, "You mean it's made out of hair from dead people?? My God that's sick! How can your family stand to have that on the wall???" So there's something that was normal 100 years ago that is not seen as such now.

  3. People eating chicken and beef, walking around staring at smartphone screens all day, driving everywhere alone in autonomous vehicles, taking all those pills doctors prescribe, wearing condoms, and supporting Trump will all seem quite strange to historians in 2120.

  4. Oh man- homes for disobedient wives/women??? Holy shit what a paradise! Look what's happened to our country since we gave them the right to vote.

  5. poor people still stick their kids in childerens homes we just now have a different name for them. and we no longer throw people in nut homes now they just go to rehab or jail.

  6. Yeah they used to put poor kids in orphanages back when people were stupid. Now we know better and murder them before birth.

  7. Fun fact, Halloween was Actually around Long before Thanksgiving. It just had more meaning back then, rather than dressing funning and demanding candy.

  8. I remember film strip projectors used in classrooms in the 1950s. Still photos projected on the screen — considered "modern" magic lanterns.

  9. I think the wife asylums should be brought back! I mean, if they were married and he still sent her there then she must have turned into a bitch, you don’t send someone there lightly! The best part, a husband asylum wouldn’t really work because it would just be a giant man cave holiday for us all! Almost just a pub really!


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