The 1900s (pronounced "nineteen-hundreds") was a decade that began on January 1, 1900, and ended on December 31, 1909. The Edwardian era (1901–1910) covers a similar span of time. The term "nineteen-hundreds" is sometimes also used to mean the entire century from January 1, 1900, to December 31, 1999 (the years beginning with "19").

Wright FlyerAtrocities in the Congo Free State1908 Messina earthquakePhilippine–American WarPanama CanalRusso-Japanese War1905 Russian Revolution
From left, clockwise: The Wright brothers achieve the first manned flight with a motorized airplane, in Kitty Hawk in 1903; A missionary points to the severed hand of a Congolese villager, symbolic of Belgian atrocities in the Congo Free State; The 1908 Messina earthquake kills 75,000–82,000 people and becomes the most destructive earthquake ever to strike Europe; America gains control over the Philippines in 1902, after the Philippine–American War; Rock being moved to construct the Panama Canal; Admiral Togo before the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, part of the Russo-Japanese War, leading to Japanese victory and their establishment as a great power, while Russia's defeat eventually led to the 1905 Revolution.

The Scramble for Africa continued, with the Orange Free State, South African Republic, Ashanti Empire, Aro Confederacy, Sokoto Caliphate and Kano Emirate being conquered by the British Empire, alongside the French Empire conquering Borno, the German Empire conquering the Adamawa Emirate, and the Portuguese Empire conquering the Ovambo. Atrocities in the Congo Free State were committed by private companies and the Force Publique, with a resultant population decline[note 1] of 1 to 15 million. From 1904 to 1908, German colonial forces in South West Africa led a campaign of ethnic extermination and collective punishment, genociding 24,000 to 100,000 Hereros and 10,000 Nama. The First Moroccan and Bosnian crises led to worsened tensions in Europe that would ultimately lead to the World War I in the next decade. Cuba, Bulgaria, and Norway became independent.

The deadliest conventional war of this decade was the Russo-Japanese War, fought over rival imperial ambitions in Manchuria and the Korean Empire. Russia suffered a humiliating defeat in this conflict, contributing to a growing domestic unrest which culminated in the Russian Revolution of 1905. Unconventional wars of similar scale include insurrections in the Philippines (1899–1913), China (1899–1901), and Colombia (1899–1902). Lesser conflicts include interstate wars such as the Second Boer War (1899–1902), the Kuwaiti–Rashidi war (1900–1901), and the Saudi–Rashidi War (1903–1907), as well as failed uprisings and revolutions in Portuguese Angola (1902–1904), Rumelia (1903), Ottoman Eastern Anatolia (1904), Uruguay (1904), French Madagascar (1905–1906), Argentina (1905), Persia (1905–1911), German East Africa (1905–1907), and Romania (1907). A major famine took place in China from 1906 to 1907, possibly leading to 20–25 million deaths. This famine was directly caused by the 1906 China floods (April–October 1906), which hit the Huai River particularly hard and destroyed both the summer and autumn harvest. The 1908 Messina earthquake caused 75,000–82,000 deaths.

First-wave feminism saw progress, with universities being opened for women in Japan, Bulgaria, Cuba, Russia, and Peru. In 1906, Finland granted women the right to vote,[2] the first European country to do so.[3] The foundation of the Women's Social and Political Union by Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903 led to the rise of the Suffragettes in Great Britain and Ireland. In 1908, a revolution took place in the Ottoman Empire, where the Young Turks movement restored the Ottoman constitution of 1876, establishing the Second Constitutional Era. Subsequently, ethnic tensions rose, and in 1909, up to 30,000 mainly Armenian civilians in Adana were massacred by Muslim civilians.

The decade saw the widespread application of the internal combustion engine including mass production of the automobile, as well as the introduction of the typewriter. The Wright Flyer performed the first recorded controlled, powered, sustained heavier than air flight on December 17, 1903. Reginald Fessenden of East Bolton, Quebec, Canada made what appeared to be[clarification needed] the first audio radio broadcasts of entertainment and music ever made to a general audience. The first huge success of American cinema, as well as the largest experimental achievement to this point, was the 1903 film The Great Train Robbery, directed by Edwin S. Porter, while the world's first feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, was released on December 26, 1906, in Melbourne, Australia. Popular books of this decade included The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902) and Anne of Green Gables (1908), which sold 45 million and 50 million copies respectively. Popular songs of this decade include "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and "What Are They Doing in Heaven?", which have been featured in 42 and 16 hymnals respectively.

During the decade, the world population increased from 1.60 to 1.75 billion, with approximately 580 million births and 450 million deaths in total. As of June 2024, 8 people from this decade remain alive (see List of oldest living people).

Pronunciation varieties


There are several main varieties of how individual years of the decade are pronounced. Using 1906 as an example, they are "nineteen-oh-six", "nineteen-six", and "nineteen-aught-six". Which variety is most prominent depends somewhat on global region and generation. "Nineteen-oh-six" is the most common; "nineteen-six" is less common. In American English, "nineteen-aught-six" is also recognized but not much used.[citation needed]



Estimates for the world population by 1900 vary from 1.563 to 1.710 billion.













McEvedy &

Jones (1978)[10]







1,656M 1,650M 1,563M 1,654M[14] 1,600M 1,633M 1,625M 1,600M 1,650–1,710M 1,668M

Politics and wars

A shocked mandarin in Manchu robe in the back, with Queen Victoria (British Empire), Wilhelm II (German Empire), Nicholas II (Imperial Russia), Marianne (French Third Republic), and a samurai (Empire of Japan) stabbing into a king cake with Chine ("China" in French) written on it. A portrayal of New Imperialism and its effects on China.

Major political changes




Internal conflicts






Prominent political events




Natural disasters

June 30, 1908: The Tunguska event
Ruins from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, remembered as one of the worst natural disasters in United States history

Non-natural disasters


Assassinations and attempts


Prominent assassinations, targeted killings, and assassination attempts include:

A sketch of Leon Czolgosz shooting U.S. President William McKinley.
Year Date Name Position Country Description
1900 July 29 Umberto I King Italy Assassinated by anarchist Gaetano Bresci.
1901 March 6 Wilhelm II Kaiser Germany Attempted assassination in Bremen by Deidrich Weiland.[18][19]
1901 September 6 William McKinley President United States Dies 8 days after being shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, by American anarchist Leon Czolgosz.
1904 June 16 Nikolai Bobrikov Governor-General Finland Assassinated by nationalist nobleman Eugen Schauman.
1905 June 13 Theodoros Diligiannis Prime Minister Greece Killed by gambler Antonios Gherakaris, reportedly for measures taken against gambling places.
1907 March 11 Dimitar Petkov Prime Minister Bulgaria Killed by an anarchist.
1907 August 31 Amin al-Soltan Prime Minister Iran Killed in front of the Parliament.
1908 February 1 Carlos I King Portugal Assassinated in Lisbon, Portugal.
1909 October 26 Itō Hirobumi Prime Minister Japan Also Resident-General of Korea, assassinated by Ahn Jung-geun at the Harbin train station in Manchuria, for many grievances against Japan, including the assassination of Empress Myeongseong of Korea.



The cost of an American postage stamp was worth 1 cent.[20]

Science and technology



During 1905 the physicist Albert Einstein published four articles – each revolutionary and groundbreaking in its field.


  • Widespread application of the internal combustion engine including mass production of the automobile. Rudolf Diesel demonstrated the diesel engine in the 1900 Exposition Universelle (World's Fair) in Paris using peanut oil fuel (see biodiesel). The Diesel engine takes the Grand Prix. The exposition was attended by 50 million people.[26] The same year Wilhelm Maybach designed an engine built at Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft—following the specifications of Emil Jellinek—who required the engine to be named Daimler-Mercedes after his daughter, Mercédès Jellinek. In 1902, the Mercedes 35 hp automobiles with that engine were put into production by DMG.[27]
  • Wide popularity of home phonograph. "The market for home machines was created through technological innovation and pricing: Phonographs, gramophones, and graphophones were cleverly adapted to run by spring-motors (you wound them up), rather than by messy batteries or treadle mechanisms, while the musical records were adapted to reproduce loudly through a horn attachment. The cheap home machines sold as the $10 Eagle graphophone and the $40 (later $30) Home phonograph in 1896, the $20 Zon-o-phone in 1898, the $3 Victor Toy in 1900, and so on. Records sold because their fidelity improved, mass production processes were soon developed, advertising worked, and prices dropped from one and two dollars to around 35 cents.".[28][29] In 1907, a Victor Records recording of Enrico Caruso singing Ruggero Leoncavallo's "Vesti la giubba" becomes the first to sell a million copies.[30]
  • 1899–1900 – Thomas Alva Edison of Milan, Ohio, invents the nickel-alkaline storage battery. On May 27, 1901, Edison establishes the Edison Storage Battery Company to develop and manufacture them.[31] "It proved to be Edison's most difficult project, taking ten years to develop a practical alkaline battery. By the time Edison introduced his new alkaline battery, the gasoline powered car had so improved that electric vehicles were becoming increasingly less common, being used mainly as delivery vehicles in cities. However, the Edison alkaline battery proved useful for lighting railway cars and signals, maritime buoys, and miners lamps. Unlike iron ore mining with the Edison Ore-Milling Company, the heavy investment Edison made over ten years was repaid handsomely, and the storage battery eventually became Edison's most profitable product. Further, Edison's work paved the way for the modern alkaline battery."[32]
  • 1900 – The Brownie camera is invented; this was the beginning of the Eastman Kodak company. The Brownie popularized low-cost photography and introduced the concept of the snapshot. The first Brownie was introduced in February 1900,[33]
The first ascent of LZ1 over Lake Constance (the Bodensee) in 1900.
A diesel engine built by MAN AG in 1906
  • 1901 – First electric typewriter is invented by George Canfield Blickensderfer of Erie, Pennsylvania. It was part of a line of Blickensderfer typewriters, known for its portability.[34][35][36]
  • 1901 – Wilhelm Kress of Saint Petersburg, Russia creates his Kress Drachenflieger in Austria-Hungary. Power was provided by a Daimler petrol engine driving two large auger-style two-bladed propellers, the first attempt to use an internal combustion engine to power a heavier-than-air aircraft.[37][38]
  • 1901 – The first radio receiver (successfully received a radio transmission). This receiver was developed by Guglielmo Marconi. Marconi established a wireless transmitting station at Marconi House, Rosslare Strand, County Wexford, Ireland in 1901 to act as a link between Poldhu in Cornwall and Clifden in County Galway. He soon made the announcement that on December 12, 1901, using a 500-foot (150 m) kite-supported antenna for reception, the message was received at Signal Hill in St John's, Newfoundland (now part of Canada), signals transmitted by the company's new high-power station at Poldhu, Cornwall. The distance between the two points was about 2,200 miles (3,500 km).
    Heralded as a great scientific advance, there was—and continues to be—some skepticism about this claim, partly because the signals had been heard faintly and sporadically. There was no independent confirmation of the reported reception, and the transmissions, consisting of the Morse code letter S sent repeatedly, were difficult to distinguish from atmospheric noise. (A detailed technical review of Marconi's early transatlantic work appears in John S. Belrose's work of 1995.)[39] The Poldhu transmitter was a two-stage circuit.[40][41] The first stage operated at a lower voltage and provided the energy for the second stage to spark at a higher voltage.
  • 1902 – Willis Carrier of Angola, New York, invented the first indoor air conditioning. "He designed his spray driven air conditioning system which controlled both temperature and humidity using a nozzle originally designed to spray insecticide. He built his "Apparatus for Treating Air" (U.S. Pat. #808897) which was patented in 1906 and using chilled coils which not only controlled heat but could lower the humidity to as low as 55%. The device was even able to adjust the humidity level to the desired setting creating what would become the framework for the modern air conditioner. By adjusting the air movement and temperature level to the refrigeration coils he was able to determine the size and capacity of the unit to match the need of his customers. While Carrier was not the first to design a system like this his was much more stable, successful and safer than other versions and took air conditioning out of the Dark Ages and into the realm of science."[42]
  • 1902/1906/1908 – Sir James Mackenzie of Scone, Scotland, invented an early lie detector or polygraph. MacKenzie's polygraph "could be used to monitor the cardiovascular responses of his patients by taking their pulse and blood pressure.[43] He had developed an early version of his device in the 1890s, but had Sebastian Shaw, a Lancashire watchmaker, improve it further. "This instrument used a clockwork mechanism for the paper-rolling and time-marker movements and it produced ink recordings of physiological functions that were easier to acquire and to interpret. It has been written that the modern polygraph is really a modification of Dr. Mackenzie's clinical ink polygraph."[44] A more modern and effective polygraph machine would be invented by John Larson in 1921.[45]
  • 1902 – Georges Claude invented the neon lamp. He applied an electrical discharge to a sealed tube of neon gas, resulting in a red glow. Claudes started working on neon tubes which could be put to use as ordinary light bulbs. His first public display of a neon lamp took place on December 11, 1910, in Paris.[46] In 1912, Claude's associate began selling neon discharge tubes as advertising signs. They were introduced to U.S. in 1923 when two large neon signs were bought by a Los Angeles Packard car dealership. The glow and arresting red color made neon advertising completely different from the competition.[47]
  • 1902 – Teasmade, a device for making tea automatically, is patented on April 7, 1902, by gunsmith Frank Clarke of Birmingham, England. He called it "An Apparatus Whereby a Cup of Tea or Coffee is Automatically Made" and it was later marketed as "A Clock That Makes Tea!". However, his original machine and all rights to it had been purchased from its actual inventor Albert E. Richardson, a clockmaker from Ashton-under-Lyne. The device was commercially available by 1904.[48]
Gilmore's second, larger plane
  • 1902 – Lyman Gilmore of Washington, United States is awarded a patent for a steam engine, intended for use in aerial vehicles. At the time he was living in Red Bluff, California. At a later date, Gilmore claimed to have incorporated his engine in "a monoplane with a 32-foot wingspan" and to have performed his debut flight in May 1902. While occasionally credited with the first powered flight in aviation history, there is no supporting evidence for his account.[49] While Gilmore was probably working on aeronautical experiments since the late 1890s and reportedly had correspondence with Samuel Pierpont Langley, there exists no photo of his creations earlier than 1908.[50]
  • 1902 – The Wright brothers of Ohio, United States create the 1902 version of the Wright Glider. It was the third free-flight glider built by them and tested at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. This was the first of the brothers' gliders to incorporate yaw control, and its design led directly to the 1903 Wright Flyer. The brothers designed the 1902 glider during the winter of 1901–1902 at their home in Dayton, Ohio. They designed the wing based on data from extensive airfoil tests conducted on a homemade wind tunnel. They built many of the components of the glider in Dayton, but they completed assembly at their Kitty Hawk camp in September 1902. They began testing on September 19. Over the next five weeks, they made between 700 and 1000 glide flights (as estimated by the brothers, who did not keep detailed records of these tests). The longest of these was 622.5 ft (189.7 m) in 26 seconds. "In its final form, the 1902 Wright glider was the world's first fully controllable aircraft."[51][52]
Ford Model A was the first car produced by Ford Motor Company beginning production in 1903.
A replica of Pearse's monoplane
  • 1903 – Richard Pearse of New Zealand supposedly successfully flew and landed a powered heavier-than-air machine on March 31, 1903[53] Verifiable eyewitnesses describe Pearse crashing into a hedge on two separate occasions during 1903. His monoplane must have risen to a height of at least three metres on each occasion. Good evidence exists that on March 31, 1903, Pearse achieved a powered, though poorly controlled, flight of several hundred metres. Pearse himself said that he had made a powered takeoff, "but at too low a speed for [his] controls to work". However, he remained airborne until he crashed into the hedge at the end of the field.[54][55]
  • 1903 – Karl Jatho of Germany performs a series of flights at Vahrenwalder Heide, near Hanover, between August and November, 1903. Using first a pusher triplane, then a biplane. "His longest flight, however, was only 60 meters at 3–4 meters altitude." He then quit his efforts, noting his motor was too weak to make longer or higher flights.[56] The plane was equipped with a single-cylinder 10 hp (7.5 kW) Buchet engine driving a two-bladed pusher propeller and made hops of up to 200 ft (61 m), flying up to 10 ft (3.0 m) high. In comparison, Orville Wright's first controlled flight four months later was of 36 m (118 ft) in 12 seconds although Wilbur flew 59 seconds and 852 ft (260 m) later that same day. Either way Jatho managed to fly a powered heavier-than-air machine earlier than his American counterparts.[57]
  • 1903 – Mary Anderson invented windshield wipers. In November 1903 Anderson was granted her first patent[58] for an automatic car window cleaning device controlled inside the car, called the windshield wiper.[59] Her device consisted of a lever and a swinging arm with a rubber blade. The lever could be operated from inside a vehicle to cause the spring-loaded arm to move back and forth across the windshield. Similar devices had been made earlier, but Anderson's was the first to be effective.[60]
The first flight by Orville Wright made on December 17, 1903.
  • 1903 – The Wright brothers fly at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Their airplane, the Wright Flyer, performed the first recorded controlled, powered, sustained heavier than air flight on December 17, 1903. In the day's fourth flight, Wilbur Wright flew 279 meters (915 feet) in 59 seconds. First three flights were approximately 120, 175, and 200 ft (61 m), respectively. The Wrights laid particular stress on fully and accurately describing all the requirements for controlled, powered flight and put them into use in an aircraft which took off from a level launching rail, with the aid of a headwind to achieve sufficient airspeed before reaching the end of the rail.[61] It is one of the various candidates regarded as the first flying machine.
  • 1904 – SS Haimun sends its first news story on March 15, 1904.[62] It was a Chinese steamer ship commanded by war correspondent Lionel James in 1904 during the Russo-Japanese War for The Times. It is the first known instance of a "press boat" dedicated to war correspondence during naval battles. The recent advent of wireless telegraphy meant that reporters were no longer limited to submitting their stories from land-based offices, and The Times spent 74 days outfitting and equipping the ship,[63] installing a De Forest transmitter aboard the ship.[64]
Construction work on the Gaillard Cut is shown in this photograph from 1907
  • 1904–1914 – The Panama Canal constructed by the United States in the territory of Panama, which had just gained independence from Colombia. The Canal is a 77 km (48 mi) ship canal that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and a key conduit for international maritime trade. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the canal had an enormous impact on shipping between the two oceans, replacing the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 9,500 km (5,900 mi), well under half the 22,500 km (14,000 mi) route around Cape Horn.[65] The project starts on May 4, 1904, known as Acquisition Day. The United States government purchased all Canal properties on the Isthmus of Panama from the New Panama Canal Company, except the Panama Railroad.[66] The project begun under the administration of Theodore Roosevelt, continued in that of William Howard Taft and completed in that of Woodrow Wilson.[67][68] The Chief engineers were John Frank Stevens and George Washington Goethals[69][70]
  • 1904 – The Welte-Mignon reproducing piano is created by Edwin Welte and Karl Bockisch. Both employed by the "Michael Welte und Söhne" firm of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. "It automatically replayed the tempo, phrasing, dynamics and pedalling of a particular performance, and not just the notes of the music, as was the case with other player pianos of the time." In September, 1904, the Mignon was demonstrated in the Leipzig Trade Fair. In March, 1905 it became better known when showcased "at the showrooms of Hugo Popper, a manufacturer of roll-operated orchestrions". By 1906, the Mignon was also exported to the United States, installed to pianos by the firms Feurich and Steinway & Sons.[71]
  • 1904 – Benjamin Holt of the Holt Manufacturing Company invents one of the first practical continuous tracks for use in tractors. While the date of invention was reportedly November 24, 1904, Holt would not receive a patent until December, 1907.[72]
  • 1905 – John Joseph Montgomery of California, United States designs tandem-wing gliders. His pilot Daniel Maloney performs a number of public exhibitions of high altitude flights in March and April 1905 in the Santa Clara, California, area. These flights received national media attention and demonstrated superior control of the design, with launches as high as 4,000 feet (1,200 m) and landings made at predetermined locations. The gliders were launched from balloons.[73][74]
  • 1905 – The Wright Brothers introduce their Wright Flyer III. On October 5, 1905, Wilbur flew 24 miles (39 km) in 39 minutes 23 seconds,[75] longer than the total duration of all the flights of 1903 and 1904. Ending with a safe landing when the fuel ran out. The flight was seen by a number of people, including several invited friends, their father Milton, and neighboring farmers.[76] Four days later, they wrote to the United States Secretary of War William Howard Taft, offering to sell the world's first practical fixed-wing aircraft.
  • 1906 – The Gabel Automatic Entertainer, an early jukebox-like machine, is invented by John Gabel. It is the first such device to play a series of gramophone records. "The Automatic Entertainer with 24 selections, was produced and patented by the John Gabel owned company in Chicago. The first model (constructed in 1905) was produced in 1906 with an exposed 40 inch horn (102 cm) on top, and it is today often considered the real father of the modern multi-selection disc-playing phonographs. John Gabel and his company did in fact receive a special prize at the Pan-Pacific Exposition for the Automatic Entertainer."[77][78]
Alberto Santos-Dumont realizes the first official flight, October 23, 1906, Bagatelle field.
  • 1906 – The Victor Talking Machine Company releases the Victrola, the most popular gramophone model until the late 1920s.[79] The Victrola is also the first playback machine containing an internal horn.[80] Victor also erects the world's largest illuminated billboard at the time, on Broadway in New York City, to advertise the company's records.[81]
  • 1906 – Traian Vuia of Romania takes off with his "Traian Vuia 1", an early monoplane. His flight was performed in Montesson near Paris and was about 12 meters long.[82]
  • 1906 – Jacob Ellehammer of Denmark constructs the Ellehammer semi-biplane. In this machine, he made a tethered flight on September 12, 1906, becoming the second European to make a powered flight.[83][84][85]
  • 1906 – Alberto Santos-Dumont and his Santos-Dumont 14-bis make the first public flight of an airplane on October 23, 1906, in Paris. The flying machine was the first fixed-wing aircraft officially witnessed to take off, fly, and land. Santos Dumont is considered the "Father of Aviation" in his country of birth, Brazil.[86] His flight is the first to have been certified by the Aéro-Club de France and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).[87][88] On November 12, 1906, Santos Dumont succeeded in setting the first world record recognized by the Aero-Club De France by flying 220 metres in less than 22 seconds.[89]
  • 1906 – Sound radio broadcasting was invented by Reginald Fessenden and Lee De Forest. Fessenden and Ernst Alexanderson developed a high-frequency alternator-transmitters, an improvement on an already existing device. The improved model operated at a transmitting frequency of approximately 50 kHz, although with far less power than Fessenden's rotary-spark transmitters. The alternator-transmitter achieved the goal of transmitting quality audio signals, but the lack of any way to amplify the signals meant they were somewhat weak. On December 21, 1906, Fessenden made an extensive demonstration of the new alternator-transmitter at Brant Rock, showing its utility for point-to-point wireless telephony, including interconnecting his stations to the wire telephone network. A detailed review of this demonstration appeared in The American Telephone Journal.[90] Meanwhile, De Forest had developed the Audion tube an electronic amplifier device. He received a patent in January, 1907.[91] "DeForest's audion vacuum tube was the key component of all radio, telephone, radar, television, and computer systems before the invention of the transistor in 1947."[92]
  • 1906 – Reginald Fessenden of East Bolton, Quebec, Canada made what appear to be the first audio radio broadcasts of entertainment and music ever made to a general audience. (Beginning in 1904, the United States Navy had broadcast daily time signals and weather reports, but these employed spark-gap transmitters, transmitting in Morse code). On the evening of December 24, 1906 (Christmas Eve), Fessenden used the alternator-transmitter to send out a short program from Brant Rock, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. It included a phonograph record of Ombra mai fù (Largo) by George Frideric Handel, followed by Fessenden himself playing the song O Holy Night on the violin. Finishing with reading a passage from the Bible: 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will' (Gospel of Luke 2:14). On December 31, New Year's Eve, a second short program was broadcast. The main audience for both these transmissions was an unknown number of shipboard radio operators along the East Coast of the United States. Fessenden claimed that the Christmas Eve broadcast had been heard "as far down" as Norfolk, Virginia, while the New Year Eve's broadcast had reached places in the Caribbean. Although now seen as a landmark, these two broadcasts were barely noticed at the time and soon forgotten— the only first-hand account appears to be a letter Fessenden wrote on January 29, 1932, to his former associate, Samuel M. Kinter.[93][94]
The Autochrome Lumière becomes the first commercial color photography process.
  • 1907 – The Autochrome Lumière which was patented in 1903 becomes the first commercial color photography process.
  • 1907 – Thomas Edison invented the "Universal Electric Motor" which made it possible to operate dictation machines, etc. on all lighting circuits.[95]
  • 1907 – The Photostat machine begins the modern era of document imaging. The Photostat machine was invented in Kansas City, Kansas, United States by Oscar Gregory in 1907, and the Photostat Corporation was incorporated in Rhode Island in 1911. "Rectigraph and Photostat machines (Plates 40–42) combined a large camera and a developing machine and used sensitized paper furnished in 350-foot rolls. "The prints are made direct on sensitized paper, no negative, plate or film intervening. The usual exposure is ten seconds. After the exposure has been made the paper is cut off and carried underneath the exposure chamber to the developing bath, where it remains for 35 seconds, and is then drawn into a fixing bath. While one print is being developed or fixed, another exposure can be made. When the copies are removed from the fixing bath, they are allowed to dry by exposure to the air, or may be run through a drying machine. The first print taken from the original is a 'black' print; the whites in the original are black and the blacks, white. (Plate 43) A white 'positive' print of the original is made by rephotographing the black print. As many positives as required may be made by continuing to photograph the black print." (The American Digest of Business Machines, 1924.) Du Pont Co. files include black prints of graphs dating from 1909, and the company acquired a Photostat machine in 1912. ... A 1914 Rectigraph ad stated that the U.S. government had been using Rectigraphs for four years and stated that the machines were being used by insurance companies and abstract and title companies. ... In 1911, a Photostat machine was $500."[96][97]
Ford Model T set 1908 as the historic year that the automobile came into popular usage as it is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile.


4 out of 10 best-selling American books in the 1900s were written by Winston Churchill (1871 – 1947)

The best selling books of the decade were Anne of Green Gables (1908) and The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902), which sold 50 million[103] and 45 million[104] copies respectively. Serbian writers used the Belgrade literary style, an Ekavian writing form which set basis for the later standardization of the Serbian language. Theodor Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, published The Old New Land in 1902, outlining Herzl's vision for a Jewish state in the Land of Israel.

Below are the best-selling books in the United States of each year, as determined by Publishers Weekly.[105]

Pablo Picasso in 1908, who, along with Henri Matisse, was considered a leader in modern art
  • Pablo Picasso paints Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, considered by some to be the birth of modern art.
  • Art Nouveau art movement peaked in popularity at the turn of the 20th century (1890–1905).
  • Cubism art movement peaked in popularity in France between 1907 and 1911.
  • Fauvism art movement peaked in popularity between 1905 and 1907.


Justus D. Barnes in Edwin Porter's film The Great Train Robbery, 1903



Popular songs of the 1900s include "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and "What Are They Doing in Heaven?", which have been featured in 42[106] and 16[107][108] hymnals respectively.



Historic events


Agustín Lizárraga discovers Machu Picchu on July 14, 1902.



The Tour de France starts for the first time in 1903.[109]


  • U.S. New Haven, Connecticut Louis Lassen of Louis' Lunch makes the first modern-day hamburger sandwich. According to family legend, one day in 1900 a local businessman dashed into the small New Haven lunch wagon and pleaded for a lunch to go. According to the Lassen family, the customer, Gary Widmore, exclaimed "Louie! I'm in a rush, slap a meatpuck between two planks and step on it!".[110][111] Louis Lassen, the establishment's owner, placed his own blend of ground steak trimmings between two slices of toast and sent the gentleman on his way, so the story goes, with America's alleged first hamburger being served.[112]



Modern artists

Henri Matisse

Other notable people

Sigmund Freud, 1905

Sports figures








Last survivors


There are currently eight remaining verified living people born in the 1900s decade, all of whom are women. This includes Maria Branyas of Spain, the oldest living person, born 4 March 1907.[113] The last surviving man born during this decade was Juan Vicente Pérez of Venezuela (27 May 1909 – 2 April 2024).[114]

See also




The following articles contain brief timelines which list the most prominent events of the decade:


Further reading



  1. ^ Ascherson, Neal (1999). The King Incorporated: Leopold the Second and the Congo (New ed.). London: Granta. p. 9. ISBN 1-86207-290-6.
  2. ^ "Finnish women won the right to vote a hundred years ago – Embassy of Finland, The Hague : Current Affairs". Archived from the original on April 23, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  3. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Woman's Hour – Women's History Timeline: 1900 – 1909". Retrieved November 7, 2012.
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  7. ^ Klein Goldewijk, K., A. Beusen, M. de Vos and G. van Drecht (2011). The HYDE 3.1 spatially explicit database of human induced land use change over the past 12,000 years, Global Ecology and Biogeography20(1): 73-86. doi:10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00587.x ( Archived April 23, 2021, at the Wayback Machine). HYDE (History Database of the Global Environment), 2010. HYDE 3.1 gives estimates for 5000 BC, 1000 BC and "AD 0". HYDE estimates are higher than those by Colin McEvedy (1978) but lower than those by Massimo Livi Bacci (1989, 2012). (graphs (
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  1. ^ "I suggest that it is impossible to separate deaths caused by massacre and starvation from those due to the pandemic of sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis) which decimated central Africa at the time." - Neal Ascherson (1999)[1]
  • Prices and Wages by Decade: 1900s—Research guide from the University of Missouri Library shows average wages for various occupations and prices for common items from 1900 to 1909.