In the United States, before driver's licenses became a nearly universal means of identification (i.e., before autos), what form of identification was routinely used? For example if one was arrested, how did they know who you were (or weren't)? And all the other things we use them for? (A big one being proof of age for drinking, but I assume there were no age limits for drinking back then.)
Obviously, passports were around before 1900, but I would think that most people, even if they did have a passport, wouldn't be carrying one with them all the time as an ID.
After first asking this question, I realized that another form of identification, birth records, have been around for centuries. People use them to trace their family tree. 125 years ago, could you get a certified birth certificate from the county you were born like you can today? I know they are needed to apply for a passport, and can be used to get a marriage license. Anything else? As a means of ID, they are not that useful, since they don't list any physical characteristics except for gender. And obviously you wouldn't be routinely carrying one around with you.
And of course in addition to driver's license, today you have social security numbers (since 1935A) and credit cards (in general use since the late 1950's-early 1960's). Sometimes when one is asked for ID, they are asked for a driver's license and one or two credit cards as a means of identification. Neither of these existed 100 years ago.