New Technology for the Masses!New Technology for the Masses!

By Lauren Obermiller and Anna Sailor


The new technologies of the 1920’s and 1950’s unified many because it gave people across the nation common social values and enabled conformity; making individuality less appealing to in the different parts of the United States.

New Technology in the 20s:

The remarkable economic boom of the “Roaring 20’s” was caused in part by the lucrativeness of WWI, making incredible technological and economic expansions possible. New technology advanced the fact that America was becoming an increasingly consumer and urban society. Credit was a new idea that allowed many people to buy cars and appliances without paying directly for them. Advertisements associated their product with elegant lifestyles and show the glamor of life. The assimilation of culture in American helped people to perceive their world in similar ways.
  • Radio

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    • In 1923, there were 500 radio stations
    • By 1930, there were over 800 stations broadcasting to 12 million listeners nationwide
    • National Broadcasting Company (NBC) established in 1924
    • Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) established in 1927
    • People nationwide were listening to the same programs

  • Automobiles

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    • Henry Ford Assembly Line (1914): made making cars more efficient and less expensive, most effective in the 1920's
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    • Cars became more affordable for common people
      • In 1913 1.2 million cars were registered
      • By 1929, 26.5 million were registered

  • House Hold Utilities

    • House hold utilities made house work easier for women, and gave them more time to pursue other interests
    • refrigerator -
    • washing machine -
    • vacuum cleaner -
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  • Oil and electricity

    • Increased used of oil and electricity in the home
    • coal was still used for heating the home and railroads
    • oil - powered factories and was used in automobiles
      • By 1930, oil accounted for 23% of U.S. energy
    • electricity - electric motors in factories and appliances at home

  • Motion pictures

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    • Talking first used in 1927
    • By 1929, 80 million tickets were sold per week
    • Americans loved to go to the movies, at first to get away from the war, but then continued to go in masses after the war was over

  • Mass Produced Fashion

    • People began wearing wristwatches
    • Cosmetics for women
    • Fashion advertisements
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New Age "Flappers"
New Age "Flappers"

  • Contraceptives

    • women wanted to be able to engage in sexual activities without reproducing.
    • many forms of birth control became popular, although abortion remained illegal

New Technology 50s:

The consumer boom of the 1950's was caused by national prosperity, increased variety and availability of products, skilled advertising, and the growth of consumer credit. The nations wealth soared after the war because of economic expansion and an increased gross national product. The consumer boom affected many more people than in the 1920's because of the increased variety of products and greater availability of them. The advertisers of the 1950's were able to create a need for their product and an image for the lifestyle that people wanted. There was increased competition from consumers to keep up with the latest products. The development of the credit card made buying products even easier. All of these factors contributed to the consumer boom of the 1950's.

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  • Television

    • Replaced all other mediums (radios, magazines, and newspapers) as the largest form of information and entertainment
    • Commercially manufactured after World War II
    • TV programs consisted of comedies, westerns, quiz shows, and professional sports
    • TV shows: Leave It To Beaver, I Love Lucy, Dennis the Menace, Amos n’ Andy, The Tonight Show
I Love Lucy!
I Love Lucy!

Leave It To Beaver
Leave It To Beaver

The Tonight Show with Steve Allen
The Tonight Show with Steve Allen

  • Interstate Highway System 1956

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    • Largest public works program in US history!
    • encouraged development in rural areas
    • increased retail competition
    • companies could supply larger areas less expensively
    • Drastically changed the face of America!!

  • House Hold Appliances


kitchen in the 1950's
kitchen in the 1950's

    • dishwasher
    • garbage disposal
    • stereo

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  • Consumer Credit

    • growth of consumer credit by 800% between 1945-1957
    • credit cards
    • revolving charge accounts
    • easy payment plans

  • Consumer Crazeexternal image bill-ray-girl-using-hula-hoop-revival-of-fashions-and-fads-of-the-1950s-june-16-1972.jpg

                • Consumers were convinced by strong advertisements
                • Prosperity was consumer focused (consumers buying goods for themselves) rather than investment focused. It became like a competition, and "keeping up with the Jones'" was a common drive behind buying goods
                • hula-hoops!
                • mickey mouse club (TV show) led to demands for themed products. Disney Land was established in 1955

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  • Vaccine for Polio 1954

    • Nationwide application of Jonas Salk's polio vaccine
    • eradication of polio

Leave It To Beaver Theme