Uncovering the bizarre and dubious connections between words as written in 5 million books over the centuries.
Powered by Google's Ngram tool, and some curious thinking.


Pets vs. Houseplants

Not surprising that "houseplants" fail to inspire a sudden surge in interest, but they have been quietly existing in the background of our consciousness, much as they exist in the periphery of our homes.

The concept of "pets," however, has boomed since the early 1800's.  I would guess the unprecedented economic growth spurred by the Industrial Revolution made the keeping of domesticated animals for pleasure a growing phenomenon.  Whereas the average family struggled to keep food on the table for most of human history, modern life produces entire grocery store aisles devoted to pet food.

Along with "pets" capturing our imagination for the past 200 years, the United States euthanizes some 3-4 million animals abandoned to shelters or culled by animal control - an unfortunate byproduct of our collective love of dogs, cats, birds, and gila monsters.

1 comment:

  1. the pet rock was introduced in 1975, after its inventor, Gary Dahl, was listening to friends complaining about their (organic) pets. This chart seems to show that 1975 was during a dip in "pet" related interest. Perhaps reading these ngrams can help the savvy inventor with ideas and timing.