Most of us have worked in an office or two in our lifetimes. Some offices are overcrowded, some are maybe a couple of people…then there are the offices that you share with no one but yourself. That’s when you can get away with not doing much.

A cubicle is not an office…it’s just a little section of space in a larger office.

Taking a look at some of the offices of 100 or more years ago, many of them appear to be so dismal. I mean, think about it…dark, no air conditioning, no radio, no white noise at all…..unless somebody flushes the toilet...if they even had a toilet.

99.1 WFMK logo
Get our free mobile app

The office rules were rigid – no eating except for lunch hour (if you even got a full hour). No fraternizing with (dating) other employees (like that actually stopped anyone). No talking during work hours (ditto). Bosses would sometimes dole out unjust punishments or penalties for breaking the rules.

What a drag that must’ve been for our ancestors.

But the silence – the lack of sound except for the shuffling of papers or the supervisor berating someone – must have been unbearable. Of course, I’m going by current standards; if we had to work under those conditions, we’d go mad or quit…and yeah, that’s happened to many members of the current generation.

And those are just the work offices.

There was another office that held fear in the hearts of children…the doctor’s office. That was one scary place: sharp objects, big porcelain thingamajigs, huge metal whatchamacallits…..and needles. We did not want to see any needles in that doc office. It was bad enough when they made us get a shot in the arm, but when you had to drop your pants and get jabbed in the butt, that was much worse – and embarrassing. Nope, no way, man. No doc office for this kid.

Dentist offices were the same…too much blood pours out of dentist’s offices and there was no way you wanted a portion of that blood to be yours.

Other offices: lawyers, real estate, unemployment, government, loan officers…let’s face it: every business has an office, and not many of ‘em are a joy to be in. That is, except for the post office. I have no problem with that one (lots of us enjoyed playing a little post office as well).

That’s the only basis for this article, other than to show you a few really old offices from 100 or more years ago. In some of these photos you can imagine how miserable you would be if you were picked up, sent back in time, and dropped in one of ‘em. So have a look at the gallery and see if you could have handled – or enjoyed visiting – some of these old offices.

Inside Some of Michigan's Old Offices: 1890-1931


Vintage Paper Boys and Newspaper Offices

Michigan Lawyers, 1855-1940S

Abandoned Highland Park Ford Plant (and Henry's Office)

More From 99.1 WFMK