The Roaring 20s, also known as the Roaring Twenties, is a period where the Western countries, primarily the United States, received economic prosperity that led to the invention and the prominence of several important devices and machines in human history. This period in the 1920s is also often referred to as the “Jazz Age,” although that nickname is supposed to only focus on the prevalence of Jazz music during that era. Despite occurring after World War I, where countries that participated in it are supposed to experience economic regression, the United States and other Western countries surprisingly recovered very quickly. Here are some of the advancements that occurred in the Roaring 20s.
Although the television was not as widespread as it is today during the Roaring 20s, the advancements in its technology in that period served as pivotal events that would lead to the abundance of television sets in every home during the 1940s. It was near the end of the Roaring 20s, particularly in July 1928, when a man named John Logie Baird was able to successfully transmit the world’s first color transmission, which he achieved by scanning discs with three spirals of apertures at each end of the connection (transmitting and receiving ends). By having the same discs, the receiving end will be able to replicate what is shown on the transmitting end that is sending a signal.
Before the rise of the television, the radio is considered to be the most popular mass broadcasting medium during the 1920s. Even though radio was expensive during that period, it was still a very popular device that is enjoyed by many of the elite because of how fast it can bring the news to the people without the need to wait for a newspaper to arrive. It was also in the 1920s where the “Golden Age of Radio” occurred, wherein the radio became the dominant home entertainment medium. Besides the news, there have been many types of entertainment that was broadcasted on radio, such as soap operas, radio plays, talent shows, sit-coms, children’s shows, and even cooking shows. The prominence of radio would continue after the Roaring 20s, although it would end by the 1950s when television can already be mass-produced.
The Roaring 20s served as the last period for the silent film era, as movies with sound would eventually become more popular in the late 1920s. While the 1920s was last period for the popularity of silent films, it allowed cinema to be more accessible, as tickets became cheaper and cinemas are being built left and right in the United States. This period also signaled the end of the vaudeville theatrical genre, as films have become a more convenient medium of entertainment and former vaudeville actors have moved to being film stars after being offered larger salaries.
The Vitaphone sound system, which is considered as the first successful sound system in cinema history, was introduced in the 1920s. This system paved the way for the creation of the first sound films, such as Don Juan (1926) and the box-office hit The Jazz Singer (1927). The 1927 film allowed many film studios to see an expensive sound film would be worth it to invest on, and thus they began producing more sound movies like the Lights of New York (1928) and animated shorts with sound like Dinner Time (1928) and Steamboat Willie (1928), which was the debut appearance of the popular Disney character Mickey Mouse.
The most important advancement that the Roaring 20s brought to the United States and other Western countries is in the automobile industry, wherein cars began being mass-produced, thus making them more accessible to the general public. Before the 1920s, cars were considered as luxury goods, as only the upper class are able to afford them. However, by the start of the period, many manufacturers in the United States and Canada began producing more and more cars because of cheaper production and material costs.
The Ford Motor Company was the dominant business in the automobile industry before the 1920s, as their Ford Model T has sold about 15 million units from 1908 to 1927. However, many of their rivals began catching up to them during the Roaring 20s, which forced Ford to discontinue the expensive Model T and produce a cheaper model called the Model A, although the Model A was still more expensive than most models from other companies during that time. Because of the surprising rise of many car manufacturers in the Roaring 20s, there were approximately 1.9 million cars registered in Canada in 1929, which is quite a large number compared to the 300,000 vehicles registered in the country in 1918. Fortunately, Ford was able to follow the trend in the Roaring 20s by beginning to produce easy-maintenance and low-cost cars.