Ngram Faceoff: Profit and safety
Another Ngram Faceoff, this time between profit (red) and safety (blue) in American English between 1790 and 2010. (Click the chart to get a larger version.)
Granted, you can’t put too much emphasis on the scientific bona fides of the Ngram analysis, as linguist Geoffrey Nunberg points out here, but here are some touchpoints in the history of safety you might find interesting:
1790: First U.S. patent issued.
1850: First accident insurance policy issued in the United States.
1911: Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
1970: Passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).
1972: Passage of the Consumers Product Safety Act (CPSA).
Safety fought a hard battle from 1900 to 1970, but since then things have been looking up. Or perhaps there’s an alternative explanation: Maybe America has simply become a nation of wusses.