Financial bubbles were able to inflate and in the old days. For example, in the XVII century the famous tulip crisis erupted. For these colors bulbs, introduced by the Netherlands, gave a fortune - in 1625, a tulip bulb was worth refined varieties today brand new Japanese car.
Then rising prices even accelerated - for three bulbs could buy an average house. Then, they began to play on the stock exchange, under which loans were taken and used futures contracts - even non-existent trade tulips. But the February 5, 1637 the bubble burst: supply exceeds demand. Overnight, prices fell by more than ten times, most scored loans was destroyed, seriously damaged the industry.
Nevertheless, it ended up more or less good and fast: almost no one no one returned the money, no one was thrown from their homes for debt, and the Dutch judge ignored the complaint, arguing that this was something of a gambling addiction. Dutch sighed and continued to work on. For comparison, every minute of the current economic crisis, 10 American households are exposed out of the house for debt.