A. Victor Segno — “How to Live 100 Years”

“I have in mind a man who is now legally 55 years old who has used olive oil and distilled water internally and externally for a few years and has so far regained youth and vigor that he looks not a day over 25.”

–A. Victor Segno,
“How to Live 100 Years,”
Los Angeles, 1903

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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2 Responses to A. Victor Segno — “How to Live 100 Years”

  1. He wakes up oily every day? Rich too, if he sold many of those $5 books in 1903.


  2. Richard H says:

    I tried to calculate what $5 in 1903 money translates to in 2009. Unfortunately most website inflation calculators only go back to 1913. One calculated $5 to $137 in 2009 dollars. Another calculated $5 to $114 in 2007 dollars. Roughly 2500% price increase averaging the two calculations.
    I believe the 1903 L.A. TImes cost $.05 a copy in 1903. The price on today’s copy was $.75. An increase of 1500%. So the inflation factor isn’t that far off.
    Average incomes in 1903 as opposed to 2009 should be factored in as well. I would assume incomes are much higher today that in 1903.
    Also lets not forget literacy rates in 1903 as opposed to 2009. I assume that people are more literate in 2009 than in 1903…but I wouldn’t be too sure about that.
    The point is this. Was there a market for such a prohibitively priced book in 1903? In 2009 that would be like trying to sell a book for $125!!!!
    Unless it’s some sort of huge reference book, a big expensively published glossy photo book or a college text book, forget it.
    Many years ago, I looking through an edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica that had been published before World War 1. What struck me was the quality of the printing, the qualtiy of the paper and genuine leather covers to the volumes. They don’t do publishing like that anymore. But who could afford to buy the books? They couldn’t have been cheap.
    Maybe there was a coupon in back to mail in for a free mentalist wave from the author or whatever he called that thing he did. Or a lock of his hair…
    Maybe he really sold them at a “reduced” price. “Originally priced at $5. But YOU can get a copy for $____ if you…”


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