The 1920s - Research

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The "Roaring Twenties," the "Jazz Age," the "Golden Age"; what happened in this decade that made it so "roaring, jazzy, and golden?" What made up the twenties? Known for fun, style, and prosperity, the ‘20s were one of the most exciting, controversial, and productive periods in America. This paper will cover some (not all) of the significant events and inventions that happened in this revolutionary decade. Well-known parts of the "Jazz Age" include, jazz, flappers, fashion, and the radio. Also notorious for being a reckless, irresponsible, and materialistic era, the 1920s also had some infamous problems; Prohibition, gangsters, and the start of the great Depression. Many new things arose in this era. The new technologies that became available had a great effect on the culture. Many fads came and went and included different fashions, terms, and ways of life.

The 1920s were a great time period in the world of technology. Many new advancements made work easier and more efficient, time shorter, and the standard of life easier. Industry and the economy were vastly improved by the new technology. Many of America's families made their living farming out in the Western United States. The mechanization of agriculture was on the rise. Gasoline-powered tractors had just recently begun to be sold commercially. A small prairie-type combine (for harvesting wheat and oats) was just introduced in 1918. New irrigation methods also helped the large agricultural part of America's economy in 1928 when the Flood Control Act was passed. This program was designed to control floods with dams built by army engineers. Irrigation canals were a part of this project. Another product that helped agriculture was commercial fertilizer. The first compound fertilizers with nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (the three primary nutrients) were manufactured in 1926. Farming was already a large part of the economy, but became even larger after George Washington Carver pioneered new uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans, helping to diversify farming in the southern United States. Technological advancements were confined to industry, health and medicine advanced greatly during the same period. Science was also on the rise in the 1920s. Insulin was discovered during the winter of 1921-1922. Penicillin was also discovered to have antibiotic properties later in 1928. Many new vitamins and their healthful characteristics were discovered too. The benefits of a healthy diet were also realized. People increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables, and decreased their consumption of meats and fats. One of the most influential inventions of the 1920s was the radio, which became an instant success to the American public. Radio was the TV of the twenties, since TV had not been invented yet, and it was used in many ways like TVs are used today. As they became cheaper, radios became a part of virtually every home in America in a few years. You would tune in at the right time to hear comedy shows, sports, news, live events, jazz, variety shows, drama, opera, the radio had everything! The first commercial radio station went on the air in 1920. The advent of public radio allowed listeners not only to keep up with national issues and events. It allowed listeners to experience new ideas, new entertainment, and to form opinions on matters that had never been publicized on a national degree. There were so many new things being released it gave the country a modern feel. This was one of the things that molded the decade into something remembered as great. It looked as though the average American had a lot to look forward to in the 1920s.

Entertainment also changed in the twenties. Large-scale radio networks began in this era. These radio networks are what would later become television networks we know now with names like NBC and CBS both going on the air. Motion pictures were also becoming increasingly popular. The twenties marked the start of sound movies....
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