As far as I know, the Amateur Extra class license started out with a 20wpm code test when it was established in the early 1950's. This is the highest speed ever required of any amateur radio license. The ac6v site at http://www.ac6v.com has a history page which indicates that 13wpm was the highest code speed required for any class of license except the Extra.
Perhaps many new hams aren't aware of it, but for most of its early existence during the 1950's and 1960's the Amateur Extra class license had no more privileges than the General class which had a 13wpm code test. As a result there weren't very many Extra class licensees until Incentive Licensing came about.
This doesn't mean CW activity operated at a slower pace back then. 13wpm was just the minimum to pass the test.