1950's Culture

Junior Rodarte

Television

Though television had been invented in the 1930s, few Americans had watched a TV show even into the late 1940s. But by the end of the Fifties, TVs were present in 90% of homes and watching television was the favorite leisure activity of nearly half the population. Did television have a negative effect on America? Did it destroy the sense of community, discourage reading, shorten attention spans, promote violence, or turn citizens into passive consumers? The debate began almost immediately during the Fifties and has continued down to the present without reaching any definitive answer. Television probably reflected rather than influenced its audience. The majority of Americans were not interested in social ferment during the decade.

Integrated Circuit

The idea of integrating electronic circuits into a single device was born when the German physicist and engineer Werner Jacobi (de) developed and patented the first known integrated transistor amplifier in 1949 and the British radio engineer Geoffrey Dummer proposed to integrate a variety of standard electronic components in a monolithic semiconductor crystal in 1952. A year later, Harwick Johnson filed a patent for a prototype integrated circuit.

Transistor

A transistor radio is a small portable radio receiver that uses transistor-based circuitry. Following their development in 1954, made possible by the invention of the transistor in 1947, they became the most popular electronic communication device in history, with billions manufactured during the 1960s and 1970s. Their pocket size sparked a change in popular music listening habits, allowing people to listen to music anywhere they went. Beginning in the 1980s cheap AM transistor radios were superseded by devices with higher audio quality, portable CD players, personal audio players, and boom boxes.

Vaccine

Parents were scared of the polio epidemics that occurred each summer; they kept their children away from swimming pools, sent them to stay with relatives in the country, and clamored for an understanding of the spread of polio. They waited for a vaccine, closely following vaccine trials and sending dimes to the White House to help the cause. When the polio vaccine was licensed in 1955, the country celebrated and Jonas Salk, its inventor, was an overnight hero.

Baby Boom

Almost exactly nine months after World War II ended, “the cry of the baby was heard across the land,” as historian Landon Jones later described the trend. More babies were born in 1946 than ever before: 3.4 million, 20 percent more than in 1945. This was the beginning of the so-called “baby boom.” In 1947, another 3.8 million babies were born; 3.9 million were born in 1952; and more than 4 million were born every year from 1954 until 1964, when the boom finally tapered off.

Suburbs

After World War II, there was an expansion of the population. This caused the need for more housing and other needs of people. Most people resorted to homes outside the cities like suburbs because there it was cheaper. These places were called "bedroom communities". Every community in the suburbs were like it's own little town. They all had schools, churches and parks. Suburbs usually created the illusion of a perfect traditional family. They also became the new glamorous countryside.

Interstate Highway System

The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (commonly known as the Interstate Highway System, Interstate Freeway System, Interstate System, or simply the Interstate) is a network of freeways that forms a part of the National Highway System of the United States. The system is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who championed its formation. Construction was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, and the original portion was completed 35 years later.

Rock-n-Roll

The origins of rock and roll have been fiercely debated by commentators and historians of music. There is general agreement that it arose in the Southern United States – a region which would produce most of the major early rock and roll acts – through the meeting of various influences that embodied a merging of the African musical tradition with European instrumentation.