Our culture is exponentially progressing over time. Thanks to advances in science and technology. Sometimes, to get a perspective, we need to take a look back and see how far we’ve come.

The best way to see these changes is to compare technology and societal norms from then and now side by side. Below are 10 examples that best exhibit human advancement.

Cost of a Loaf of Bread

  • Then: Back in 1917, bread cost $0.07 a loaf (With adjustment for inflation that’s $1.50 in today’s money).
  • Now: $2.37 is the average cost for a loaf of bread.

Average Price of a House in the U.S.

  • Then: The average price for a house in the U.S. was $5,000 in 1917 (With adjustment for inflation that’s $111,584.29 in today’s money).
  • Now: The average price of a new home sold in 2010 was $272,900.

Average Price of Cars in the U.S.

  • Then: In 1917, the average car’s price was around $400 (With adjustment for inflation that’s $89,926.74 in today’s money.)
  • Now: As of January 2017, the average price for a new car is $34,968.

Intercontinental Travel Time

  • Then: In 1917, the journey from London to New York took around 5 days. A trip from London to Australia took 3.5 months.
  • Now: A non-stop flight from Heathrow Airport in London to JFK in New York takes just over 8 hours, while a flight from Heathrow to Sydney takes a little less than a day with one stop-over.

The First Aircraft Made By Boeing

  • Then: On June 15, 1916, Boeing’s Experimental Model 1 Seaplane first took flight. Boeing, as a company, was still months from existence.
  • Now: As of 2015, Boeing has around 24,000 various commercial aircraft in service around the world.

Introduction of the Hamburger

  • Then: Walter Anderson, co-founder of White Castle, invented the hamburger bun in 1917.
  • Now: The average American eats 3 hamburgers per week. All accounted for, that’s around 50 billion hamburgers every year. “Impossible Foods” is even starting to make 100 percent plant-based beef burgers available in certain restaurants.

Average Wage in the U.S.

  • Then: Back in 1917, the hourly wage for the average U.S. worker was $0.22 an hour (With adjustment for inflation that’s around $4.90 per hour in today’s money).
  • Now: The average hourly wage for today’s American workers is around $26 an hour.

Coca-Cola in the Market

  • Then: Coca-Cola first introduced its current formula to the market (the version without cocaine).
  • Now: Over 1.9 billion servings of Coca-Cola beverages are enjoyed around the globe in over 200 countries. Reportedly, in 2015, Coca-Cola had a market cap of around $178 Billion with net operating revenues above $44 billion.

Before There Were Supermarkets, There Were Super Markets

  • Then: PigglyWiggly was one of the first supermarkets back in 1917. Back then, the term supermarket didn’t even exist.
  • Now: As of 2015, there are an estimated 38,000 supermarkets, providing 3.4 million jobs and generating around $650 billion in sales.

Telecommunications (Landlines and Cellular Phones)

  • Then: Back in 1917, landline telephones could only be found in around 8percent of homes.
  • Now: Although the percentage of homes that still have a landline may be similar, around 80 percent of the U.S. population has a smartphone. Every year, there are fewer landlines, which are often only part of a bundle for an internet connection.

It was once said that change is the only constant. The human condition drives us to innovate and evolve to make things simpler, more profitable, and efficient. Although Americans have conquered and settled lands stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, manifest destiny still exists in the technological frontier. Imagine in another century how far we will have come and what modern technology will be considered archaic. We can only guess.


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