Electrolux Newsroom Asia Pacific

Then and now – the world in 1912 and 2012




It’s been a roller coaster of a century. Between 1912 and 2012, man saw unprecedented technological advancements, two world wars and a world economy that experienced incredible heights and equally crippling crises  at a breathtaking pace.

Here are some notable milestones that will amaze, awe or perhaps shock even you.

World population more than triples

In 1912, the estimated world population according to the HYDE database developed by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency was 1.8 billion.

World Population

Photo credit: cooldesign

The United Nations estimated that the number of people in the world hit the 7 billion mark last year. In 2012, this number is expected to keep growing. So if for some reason you feel like your city’s gotten a lot more crowded, it isn’t just your imagination – it is more crowded. By more than three times since 1912, in fact.

Energy consumption burns billions of tons of coal

This explosion in human population, combined with technological advancements has also resulted in a greater strain on our resources. The world’s energy consumption is measured in British Thermal Units, or BTU. The energy generated from burning 45 million tons of coal is 1 quadrillion BTU. That’s 15 zeroes.


Photo credit: dan

Of course, man’s capacity to generate mind-boggling numbers should not be underestimated. The world’s total energy consumption in 2008 was 505 quadrillion BTU. Or the equivalent of using 22 billion tons of coal. This is expected to rise even further to 770 quadrillion BTU by 2034. And the carbon footprint of each person, measured at 4.6 metric tons in 2008, will rise accordingly.

That’s why sustainability is becoming a huge focal point for many companies and individuals. Over the last two decades, Electrolux has been developing more green appliances such as the UltraSilencer Green, which is mostly made of recycled plastics and consumes 33% less energy than comparable models. The company also has an Eco Range of appliances that includes energy efficient fridges, ovens and washing machines.

A bigger global village leads to more inclusive Olympics

The 1912 Summer Olympics held in Stockholm, Sweden was the first time the games saw competitors from all five continents. Among its firsts was the use of electronic time keeping for races and the introduction of the first loudspeaker system.

1912 Olympics

1912 Olympics1

The 28 participating countries sent 2,359 men and 48 women in 1912. This year, the 2012 Summer Olympics will be held in London, with an estimated 10,500 athletes from 204 countries participating.

Housework revolution

The first household vacuum, the Lux 1, was sold in 1912. The 14kg model was a standing unit that required salesmen to use handcarts to transport it, while payment for the vacuum called for an instalment plan. It was still seen as a boon to housewives everywhere, cutting down on the sweeping and dusting needed at home.

lux 1

Today, a plethora of lightweight, portable vacuums line the shelves to fit any lifestyle. With models like the compact and easily handled UltraActive, to the environmentally friendly UltraSilencer Green and the nifty Ergorapido, the home vacuum has certainly come a long way.

The end of an age

The ancient Mayan prediction that 2012 would be the end of an age was brought to the mainstream by the Roland Emmerich film 2012. On 21 December this year, the sun will be aligned with the Milky Way for the first time in 26,000 years. Speculation on the significance of this date has ranged from the apocalyptic to a more pacifist interpretation of the institution of a new world order.

Mayan Calendar

There is little evidence to show that this will result in an apocalyptic event. So sleep easy in 2012 and enjoy all the modern creature comforts that today’s world can offer.

Save and share this post