A Consumer Economy
By Kyra Grandall
Before the roaring twenties a lot of housework had to be done by hand and took countless hours to complete. The woman of the house would have to take the rugs outside to clean them, change the ice in the ice machine, and clothes were cleaned by hand in a washing tub then made wrinkle free by the iron which had to be heated in the stove! They also had to make their own clothes and bread. In the summer many hours were spent on canning food so the family had food to last through the winter.
The 1920's really helped the woman complete all these chores much easier and faster. The vacuum cleaner was invented to help clean the rugs without all the hassle. The refrigerator took away the chore of having to change the ice everyday. The electric washing machine and electric iron reduced the time of washing and ironing clothes. The time spent on making clothes and bread was no longer a need because stores offered affordable clothes and bakeries supplied bread to local supermarkets. Canning food was also not needed because stores offered affordable food.
Another part of the twenties that increased the amount of consumers was stores offering "buy now pay later." Many stores of this time offered this or credit to buyers who couldn't afford to pay for it all at once or who planned to pay it back with monthly payments. This introduced lines of credit and installment planes. This caused many Americans to fall into debt because they wanted all these new products and had no money to pay for all of them at once.
Advertising had a lot to do with consumers during this time also. Advertising was used to convince the buyers that they "needed" the products. Advertising used terms that people didn't understand to make it sound like something bad would happen if they didn't have the product. The radio was a main part of advertising during this time. Celebrities also were a big part of advertising at this time because there testimonials were used to get consumers to buy the products.
"A Consumer Economy." Ushistory.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2013.