The peak of the Baby Boomer Years was, following the end of the great depression and World War II, people wanted to live an everyday life raising a family; teens found rock and roll music and Elvis, parents found more consumer choice, and jobs were abundant.
The Fities Inventions
The Year Invented Inventors and Country or attributed to First Use
Atomic Clock – 1955 England
Breeder Reactor – 1951 USA Converted Uranium into Plutonium
Computer Modem – 1958 USA
Credit Card – 1950 USA by Ralph Schneider
Hovercraft – 1955 England by Christopher Cockerell
Hydrogen Bomb – 1952 USA by Edward Teller’s team
Lunar Probe – 1959 Russia Lunik I passed the Moon
Microchip – 1958 USA by Jack Kilby
Nuclear Power – 1956 England First power station at Calder Hall
Robot – 1954 USA by George C Devol Jr
Satellite – 1957 Russia Sputnik I
Solar Cell – 1954 USA Or Photovoltaic cells
Transistor Radio – 1953 USA Texas Instruments
Video Recorder – 1956 USA
Video Tape – 1956 USA
The Fifties Money and Inflation
If you have $100 Converted from 1950 to 2020, it would be equivalent to $1071.02 today.
In 1950 a new house cost $8,450.00, and by 1959 was $12,400.00.
The average income per year was $3,210.00 and by 1959 was $5,010.00
A gallon of gas was 18 cents, and by 1959 was 25 cents
The average cost of a new car was $1,510.00 and by 1959, was $2,200.00
Here are a few more prices from the ’50s and how much things cost:
Chrysler New Yorker car $4347
Chevrolet Corvette car $3631
Men’s All Wool Suits $28.90
Square dance Cotton Check Dress $3.29
Ronson Electric Shaver $28.50
Rib Roast 29 cents per pound
Ritz Crackers 32 cents
The Fifties Popular Culture
Popular Culture in the 1950s can be captured in just a few words that speak volumes. “The Cold War,” “Baby Boomers,” “Korea,” and “The Red Scare” This was the decade where people built Bomb Shelters and had babies, and the news was filled with what the reds were doing or going to do. The other significant change was how teenagers were viewed until the 50s. Teenagers were just children and were treated as such. The 1950s and future decades changed that where teenagers became an essential section of society when politicians and others realized teenagers would quickly become voters and consumers. A new generation of pop stars, including Elvis Presley, was created, whose primary target audience was teenagers.
Some of the Most Well Known Movie Stars of the Fifties:
The Fifties Homes
As new homes were built, furniture was needed to fill them. With the restrictions ended on using raw materials and a feeling of calm and prosperity, plus the availability of new materials, new furniture became bright and functional.
The Fifties Fashion
With the economic boom in the Fifties, glamour became fashionable again, and A-line and pencil skirts were trendy form-fitting fashions. Dresses in the decade often featured stylish ruffles or lace accents, usually knee-length or tea-length. In the late fifties and 1960s, mini-dresses and maxi-length skirt outfits entered the scene. In the mid-’50s, trends in women’s fashion changed again. Round-neck styles on sleeveless shirts or long-sleeve shirts were popular, as well as polo necks. Dolman sleeves dominated fashionable tops in the fifties and sixties.
The Fifties Air Travel
Commercial aviation was developing fast but hadn't opened up to the masses yet. In this decade, plane tickets were still costly, so air travel was the domain of the wealthy and elite. When traveling in the 1950's people wore their finest clothes. Women wore dresses, heels, and pearls, while men wore three-piece suits and ties.
Airline marketing focused on types, and colorful, complex paint schemes. Billboard advertising was a way to build the airline's brand awareness to as many people as possible.
When traveling in the 1950's people wore their finest clothes. Women wore dresses, heels, and pearls, while men wore three-piece suits and ties. Air hostesses' were picked according to weight, beauty, and relationship status, and they had to be single. They dressed like movie stars with corsets,body-sculptured clothing, and hats.
Boarding of c/n MSN 2061 Lockheed L049 Constellation of Cubana bound for Havanna, Cuba, at New York Idlewild airport in 1954. Zoggavia collection.
Air hostesses' were picked according to weight, beauty, and relationship status, and they had to be single. They dressed like movie stars with corsets, body-sculptured clothing, and hats. Zoggavia collection.
Without the hi-tech entertainment systems of the modern day, passengers were forced to find other ways to occupy themselves on a long flights. Boredom was daily on long flights in the 1950s, as the only cure was reading the newspaper or a book. Smoking and drinking alcohol past the time for many passengers. Food and drink on board were high quality, and the cocktail bars poured glasses of expensive champagne and brandy throughout the flights. Food buffets served five-star meals, including lobster and beef, and the buffets were sometimes open for 3 hours.
View on a smooth-running 2500hp Wright R-3350 Cyclone radial piston engine of a TWA Lockheed L749A Constellation. Enjoy the sight and imagine the sound reinforced by the Rohr jet exhaust stacks. Zoggavia collection
Cabin view of c/n MSN 2023 Lockheed L049 Constellation of TWA on a US domestic flight in 1958. Zoggavia collection
Jet passenger travel began in the 50s, and the De Havilland Comet was the World's first commercial jet airliner. The first scheduled service started on 2nd May 1952 between London and Johannesburg. It was a great success, setting new standards and speeds up to 500mph. Initially, the Comet established a reputation for trouble-free reliability. Tragically this reputation was destined not to last. Several unexplained crashes revealed a fatal design flaw, and the Comet's fuselage was not strong enough to withstand the constant changes in air pressure. All Comets were grounded in 1954, and jet passenger travel stopped. Read the rise and the fall of the Comet here.
The Comet 1A- a beauty from every angle. UAT Aeromaritime ordered three DH.106 Comet 1A, c/n MSN 6015 F-BGSA was delivered on 11 December 1952, followed by c/n F-BGSB on 19 February 1953. C/n 6019 F-BGSC followed on 30 April 1953. They were placed on specific routes to West Africa, and by November 1953, the Comets were serving Johannesburg. F-BGSC overran the Dakar runway on landing, crossed a sandy ditch, and came to rest on its belly on 26 June 1953. The remaining Comets were withdrawn from use on 12 April 1954 and replaced by Douglas DC-6. Photo shows F-BGSA in the bright Aeromaritime livery at an airfield in Northern Africa. Zoggavia collection.
Boac's c/n MSN 6004 DH.106 Comet 1 during an intermediate stop at Bahrain in 1953. This Comet was involved in a taxi incident when the aircraft's right wheel bogies ran off the paved surface at Calcutta, India, airport. Engine power was applied on the two starboard engines, causing the bogie struts to push into the wing structure, causing much damage. Zoggavia collection.
The jet age was not over yet, though. The Boeing 707 jet airliner, which was introduced later in the decade, was larger and even more economical than its predecessor and would enjoy much more commercial success. Pan American Airways began regular service with this aircraft in 1958, and the model would remain in civil operation until 2019.
Passengers are boarding an early version Pan American Boeing 707 with the destination New York Idlewild in 1959. Zoggavia collection.
For more Pan Am catering items please visit the Virtual Pan Am Museum
The Fifties Gallery