The 1930s were a time when the depression caused by the wall street crash in late 1929 caused the world to undergo a fundamental change in lifestyles. As part of the change, some new radical politics became popular, as seen in the rise of Fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism.
The Thirties Inventions
The Year Invented Inventors and Country or attributed to First Use
Ballpoint Pen —– 1938 Hungary by Laszlo Biró
BBC Television —– 1932 England's first regular TV broadcasts (London)
Catseyes —– 1934 England by Percy Shaw - for lighting roads
Electric Razor —– 1931 USA by Jacob Schick
Electron Microscope —– 1933 Germany by Ernst Ruska
Frequency Modulation FM —– 1939 USA by Edwin H Armstrong - sound by radio waves
Helicopter —– 1936 Germany by Heinrich Focke
Jet Engine —– 1930 England by Frank Whittle
Nylon —– 1931 USA by Wallace Carothers - artificial silk
Magnetic Recording —– 1936 USA audio tapes
Photocopier —– 1938 USA by Chester Carlson
Polaroid —– 1932 USA by Edwin Herbert Land
Radar (for Aircraft) —– 1935 Scotland by Robert Watson-Watt
Sticky Tape —– 1930 USA
The Thirties Money and Inflation
To provide an estimate of inflation, we have given a guide to the value of $100 US Dollars for the first year in the decade to the equivalent in today’s money:
If you have $100 Converted from 1930 to 2023, it would be equivalent to $1791 today
In 1930 a new house cost $3,900.00 (USA) or £750 (UK)
The average income per year was $1,731.00 (USA) and £165
A gallon of gas was 10 cents and 19 cents by 1939
The average cost of a new car was $600.00 and by 1939, was $800.00
The Thirties Popular Culture
The Paris-based Art Deco movement influenced styles in American home decor, furniture, and examples of Art Deco paintings that could be viewed in museum exhibits. In the 1930s, big bands and swing music were widespread, with Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller as popular bandleaders.
Some of the Most Well Known Movie Stars of the Thirties:
The Thirties Homes
In homes, a 1930s interior is characterized by striking color combinations, usually gold, oranges, blue shades, and monochrome. Bold geometrics appeared in tiling, parquet flooring, door panels, lighting, and metalwork. The houses had a typical layout: a room off the front hall, a second living room, and a kitchen at the rear. Upstairs in these tiny homes were usually two bedrooms, a small room, and a bathroom with a toilet. There would also be a detached garage.
The Thirties Air Travel
Airlines continued offering airmail delivery services and also carrying passengers. Flying was still extremely expensive and relatively uncomfortable, but according to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, for example, airline passengers grew from 6,000 in 1930 to 450,000 in 1934.
One 1930s invention would seriously revolutionize commercial air travel. The Douglas DC-3 had its first flight in 1935, raising the bar for commercial airliners. It was larger, faster, and more comfortable than any model that had preceded it, and it was soon snapped up by industry heavyweights such as Delta, TWA, American, and United. A United Douglas DC-3 aircraft, first flight 1936, is pictured here cruising through the air in 1937. c/n MSN 1912, NC16072 was destroyed in a hangar fire along with a Western Air Express Boeing 247D (c/n MSN 1721) NC13339 at Salt Lake City Municipal Airport on 12 January 1941.
The 1930s also saw some of the earliest commercial flights across the Atlantic. Pan American Airways was one of the forerunners, transporting passengers over the Atlantic by 1939.
The photo shows "Dixie Clipper" NC18605 remembered as the plane that operated the first flight with paying passengers to cross the Atlantic and carried U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt from the United States to Casablanca for the 1943 Casablanca Conference. The B-314 flew with Pan American from 1939 to 1946.
The big new Boeing 314, NC 18605 Dixie Clipper left Port Washington on Long Island, bound for Lisbon and Marseilles via Horta, the Azores – via the so-called transatlantic “southern route.” Onboard were 22 paying passengers. Some had paid for the privilege years earlier.
The Thirties gallery