Rise of technology in the 1950's

Rise of Televisions

In the 1950's with the assistance of military research from WWII Television was made popular because almost all homes in America could have access to a TV. The military made advancements in microwave technology with there satellites and other systems such as radar and some of there communication radios that spanned from The American shore all the way to coast of Europe and then out to the battle field.

Television became popular due to the actual tv systems being cheaper and with military advancements in microwave technology the signals could be transponded further and with better signal causing almost every family to have a TV because it was made available to them. The 1940's-1950's were quite eventful for the still relatively new invention called television.

Technical Advances

In 1943, RCA demonstrated a new TV Camera that gave the public its first glimpse of an image that was far above the images that had been possible in early television. The format of early TV news had been borrowed from radio and was usually read from a visible script, by an announcer in a small announce booth. A single camera was aimed through the window of the booth. In 1949, the format had not changed much. Newsreel companies usually supplied the shots of news events. But viewers were still mesmerized and by 1955 half of all homes in the United States had purchased a television set. Color broadcasting finally arrived in the United States in 1953 when the FCC approved a modified version of one that RCA had created. The first color commercial was televised, and in 1954, television became the leading source for national advertising.

There were many technical advances during these two decades of television. During the years previous to 1940, the technology was very primitive. A single camera that forced actors to work in almost impossible conditions captured all of the action that was televised. The cameras did not work well with the color white. The lights had to be extremely hot and the actors were required to wear black lipstick and green make-up. During the years from 1939-1945 because of World War II, progress on the development of television technology stopped. All efforts in technology were focused on winning the war. In 1947, a company named Corning invented the process to mass-produce glass TV picture tubes. In 1948, one million television sets are sold in the United States. In 1949, Corning produced the first lead-free glass for TV tubes and also invented a new method for centrifugal casting of television funnels.

This innovative company began mass production of the color picture tube in 1953. In 1950, community antenna television had been invented in a small town in nearby Philadelphia. That town was Lansford and the man who owned the appliance store was the inventor. He put up a small antenna in the community to improve TV reception from the stations in Philadelphia. He was the first to use coaxial cable lines to distribute TV signals from his antenna to the other homes in the community. In 1952, AT&T installed the first intercity coaxial cable, which kept viewers in large cities from seeing multiple images on their TV. The multiple images were caused when strong signals (because of the closeness of the TV station) bounced off of the tall structures in the city. Most television, up to that time, had been produced using a process called kinescope. Kinescope was a method that used a cathode ray tube in the monitor.

Advances in Medicines

The advances of medicines in the 1950's have proven to be some of the best advances for child hood diseases and some other less serious diseases that many different people had and nobody could find how to cure them until the 1950's.

The discovery of these medicines saved hundreds of thousands of childrens lives. This was the case due to many of them having the ability to either fight or prevent childhood diseases such as Typhoid Fever. Another breakthrough came when Dr. Jonas Salk developed a vaccine for the crippling disease poliomyelitis -- Polio. There were many medical changes during World War Two but these changes continued after the war. In Britain, the biggest change was the establishment of the National Health Service (NHS) that provided free medical care for all regardless of wealth. Prior to this those who could not afford something like a penicillin jab had to go without or make the necessary sacrifices to get the necessary money. The NHS provided this for free.

Post-1945, many advances were made in the management of pregnancy and childbirth. This included the ability to induce labour and the use of epidurals to ease difficult pregnancies. As a balance to this, there was a move for less state intervention in childbirth and the development of the right for women to have more natural childbirth. In 1956, the National Childbirth Trust was set up. The chance of infant survival also improved as medical knowledge developed - as was seen in the work done to increase the survival rate of 'blue' babies. The greater use of scans after 1945 also helped to detect problems earlier.

More vaccines were developed to control childhood diseases. After the war the health of children was generally better than at any other time in history. Vaccines against polio, measles and rubella were developed in the 1950's and 1960's. Tests were also developed for defects in babies such as the amniocentesis for spina bifida and Down's Syndrome. Marie Stopes did much to change attitudes as to give women more freedom when concerning birth control. However, pre-war social conventions had done much to prevent the total spread of her ideas throughout Britain. Many social conventions had been swept away during the war and by the 1950's the contraceptive pill had been introduced as was seen as a way of giving women more control over their own destiny - and certainly taking this away from domineering men. By the 1960's, the contraceptive pill was widely available, as was the IUD (Intrauterine device). This had first been developed in 1909 but was more widely available after 1945. Certain types of IUD were also linked to pelvic infection and septic abortions as late as the 1970's and 1980's. Such concerns did much to stymie its use.

Many very significant medical advances were also made after 1945. One of the most important was the discovery of DNA by Wilkins, Crick and Watson. These three were also helped by the work done by Rosalind Franklin.

Since 1945, there has been a greater use of steroids in medicine. These were used to relieve pain and inflammation. Cortisone was used in injection form to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Cortisone also had the important side effect of reducing the body's immune system. This made it useful to prevent the rejection of skin and kidney transplants. This in turn lead to the idea of using drugs to suppress the growth of cancers using cytotoxins.

The use of ultrasound and magnetic resonance since 1945 has also made it easier to diagnose disease. Ian Donald, Professor of Midwifery at Glasgow developed ultrasound in the 1950's for looking at unborn babies.

Post 1953: the development of a successful heart lung machine allowed more complicated heart surgery to take place. Techniques have improved greatly here with coronary bypasses to improve blood supply to the heart since 1953 and the replacement of heart valves since the 1960's. Artificial arteries have also been developed to improve blood flow. After 1961, pacemakers were introduced to maintain a regular heart beat. From 1960 on, lasers were used to treat eye tumors etc. Since 1945, there have been massive strides in the treatment of cancer. The use of a combination of drugs, radiotherapy and surgery have greatly increased a cancer patient's chances of survival. During the 1950's, research linked smoking to lung cancer and other external factors have also been identified - such as excess sunlight potentially causing skin cancer. It is now thought that 15% of all cancers are caused by viruses. The major disease that has tested the medical world since the 1980's has been HIV/AIDS. In the 1980's, government's touted HIV as near enough a death sentence and in Britain issued public health warnings on television showing icebergs crashing into the sea. Now, just twenty years on, combination drug therapy offers sufferers hope and a huge amount of research has gone into finding a cure or vaccination for this world-wide disease. 'New' diseases have also come to the fore including the Ebola virus. There is a vast difference in the medical world of 1945 to that of 2002. Developments within medicine would have been expected but they have been in leaps in the last decades. Diseases that would have almost certainly killed in 1945 to 1950 are now usually treatable and in many instances curable.