Events From the 1920s( Most of the events listed below we have tried to put a small paragraph on the specific year page providing additional information )
- With the ending of World War I a housing boom in Britain and the United States leads to an increase in home ownership.
- The League of Nations is founded but the United States votes against joining.
- Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified on August 18, giving women the right to vote.
- The Russian Civil war ends but the country struggles as a famine begins in 1920 and worsens the following year.
- The Summer Olympics take place in Antwerp, Belgium and they emphasize reconciliation after World War I.
- The 18th Amendment ( Volstead Act / National Prohibition Act ) goes into force at the beginning of the decade which in turn leads to increased black market alcohol that is sold in speakeasies and run by mobsters who pay off local politicians
- The Palmer Raids lead to the arrest and deportation of 6,000 foreign aliens suspected radical leftists.
- The Irish Revolution leads to the Government of Ireland Act of 1920 providing for the partition of Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland with separate parliaments leading to the creation of the Irish Free State.
- Russia and Poland establish a permanent border when they sign the Treaty of Riga.
- The famous and iconic "Chanel No. 5" perfume is created by Coco Chanel.
- The Emergency Quota Act is passed to restrict immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe.
- The Communist Party of China is created.
- The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is created in 1922.
- Egypt declares its independence.
- The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) is formed and financed by a Post Office license fee of 10 shillings, payable by anyone owning a radio receiver.
- The Fordney-McCumber Act places a high tariff on imports into the United States.
- Gandhi preached for mass civil disobedience, non-violence and peaceful resistance against British Rule in India and British Authorities sentenced him to six years' imprisonment.
- Fifty thousand people affected during Lower Louisiana Floods in 1922.
- King Tutankhamun's Tomb is opened by Howard Carter.
- Insulin is mass-produced for the treatment of diabetes.
- The Great Kanto earthquake devastates Tokyo and Yokohama in 1923 leaving over 100,000 fatalities.
- Lady Elizabeth Rowes-Lyon and Prince Albert, the Duke of York, are married at Westminster Abbey. Prince Albert will later become King George VI of England.
- The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is held on November 27th, 1924.
- Ellis Island closes as an immigration entry point to the US.
- The very first Winter Olympics are held. They take place in Chamonix, France.
- The Indian Citizenship Act confers citizenship on all Native Americans born within the United States.
- The first around-the-world flight is completed after 175 days by two places from the United States Army.
- The Butler Act which prohibits evolution from being taught in public schools is passed in Tennessee in 1925 it is not repealed until 1967.
- The classic novel "The Great Gatsby" is published by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald.
- Sears Robuck opens its first retail store in Chicago, Illinois in 1925. Sears had been selling through Home Shopping Catalogs since 1893 and would continue selling through catalogs for next 70 years at the same time as building one of the largest chain stores in the country.
- The first television transmitter is developed by John Logie Baird in Great Britain.
- General strike takes place in England during 1926.
- Route 66, a major U.S. road running from Chicago to Los Angeles, is opened.
- British warships battle for control in China off of the Yangtze River.
- The famous magician and escape artist Harry Houdini dies from a burst appendix at the age of 52.
- The Ford Motor Company announces the creation of a 40-hour work week for factory workers.
- The Holland Tunnel under the Hudson River opens connecting New York City with New Jersey in 1927.
- In 1927, Charles Lindbergh flies The Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic nonstop and solo, direct from New York City to Paris, as the first solo transatlantic flight.
- Earthquake measuring 8.6 on Richter scale strikes Xining, China in 1927 killing 200,000
- Work begins on Mount Rushmore in the late 1920's carving the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. It takes nearly 15 years to complete.
- The Great Mississippi Flood in 1927 affects 700,000 people in what was then considered the greatest national disaster in US history.
- The Columbine Mine Massacre takes place in Serene, Colorado during 1927
- Amelia Earhart flies across the Atlantic Ocean as a passenger, becoming the first woman to do so successfully.
- The "Iron Lung," a device used to help polio patients breathe, is created by Philip Drinker and Louis Shaw.
- Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin in 1928 which changed the world of modern medicines by introducing the age of antibiotics.
- Republican candidate Herbert Hoover wins the United States presidential election after defeating the Democratic candidate, Al Smith.
- Walt Disney's famous Mickey Mouse cartoon character appears for the first time in "Steamboat Willie."
- During most of the decade turf wars between rival gangs were frequent and extremely violent. The best known of the many was Al Capone's Saint Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago during 1929.
- Vatican City becomes an independent and sovereign state located within Rome after the Lateran Pacts are signed.
- At the end of the 20's after a time of excesses in all areas, the stock market crashed on Black Thursday (October 24th, 1929) and caused the start of the The Great Depression.
- The first Academy Awards (Oscars) for film-making and film actors are held in Los Angeles.
Popular Culture 1920's
Due to the new technology available allowing movies to have both sound and color, the movie industry in Hollywood grew fast, as did the number of Cinemas showing the films. In 1919, laws were passed for the Prohibition of the consumption and even possession of alcohol, making it illegal. Due to these laws, the Decade provided some of the best known gangsters a means to create vast wealth by opening illegal bars called speakeasies that would provide alcoholic drinks for the people that patronized these establishments. The most well known gangster of the time was possibly Al Capone.
Also this period saw the growth of the Ku Klux Klan and the growth of the Vigilante groups who took the law into their own hands and lynched victims most often black without any trial.
The other great change in people's lives came from an invention and technology developed prior to the twenties. After World War I, the birth of commercial radio helped the radio to became a significant part of life providing news and entertainment to the masses in their homes.
FashionsDuring the twenties, men's fashions became less stuffy and they tried to look more youthful but women's fashions changed much more drastically. Women started dressing in a way they felt comfortable, not to accentuate the feminine attributes, but as a statement of who they were (flapper style of clothing).
These three examples which include Flapper Style Women's Fashions are from Our new updated Twenties Fashion Section, We have included over 200 examples of Ladies, Mens and Children's Fashion Clothes and Accessory examples organized by year including dresses, hats, shoes and much more take a little time to browse through them.
ToysCheck out the new toys pages where you can see some of the children's toys that could be found during the Roaring Twenties and other decades. Toys include Teddy Bears, Velocipedes, Tinker Toys, Gyroscopes, and Magic Lanterns.
From Our Twenties Toys Page
Below are some examples of kids pedal cars, you will notice from the advert below the toy pedal car makers were quick to mimic the cars of the period
Price: From $10.95
Possibly the most significant change during the decade was the mass production of the Car started by Henry Ford in the early 1900's. He had manufactured and sold some 15 million Model-Ts by 1927. I have included 20 examples of cars for sale in the decadeFrom Our 1920's Autos Page
1924 Chevrolet Utility Coupe
Electrical Home GoodsThe range of things you could own was low because the vast number of Americans still did not have electricity, Below is one great example from our Electrical page featuring a radio, as I did the research I was amazed at the complexity involved in owning a radio for your home. All the items shown below were required to own a radio, more information on this and other items can be found on our
From Our 1920's Home Appliances Page
Homes From The TwentiesOur new updated Homes page includes a number of self build homes with varying designs and sizes ranging from a small cottage to a two floor large 7 room house example below is taken from our 1920's Homes and Houses Page
Two Bedroom Country Cottage
Price: Sectional $2,205
Furniture From The 20'sIt is interesting looking at the furniture and fixtures you might find in a home from the decade, below are just two examples I found interesting from the more than 20 we have included on our 1920's Furniture
Portable Bathtub With Water Heater
Jazz was the music of popular choice and some of the best known musicians were jazz musicians including Duke Ellington and Al Jolson. One other popular musician/composer was George Gershwin. Many of his songs are still recorded and listened to today. A popular dance of the times was known as the Charleston.
The Twenties were a time of radical change caused by the many changes happening in technology with new advancements, discoveries, and inventions. The decade is often referred to as the Roaring Twenties.
Money and Inflation
To provide an estimate we have given a guide to the value of $100 US Dollars for the first year in the decade to the equivalent in today's money
If you have $100 Converted from 1920 to 2009 it would be equivalent to $1023 in today's money
Sporting Changes During The DecadeBaseball
The Yankees and Babe Ruth rule the world of Baseball setting records for the team and the Great Babe Ruth.
Major League Teams Buy up Minor League Teams allowing them to get top players much cheaper than the open market.
Association Football (Soccer)
Soccer had been gaining in popularity since the mid 1800's but the Twenties gave an even bigger boost with the Growth Of Radio In Britain making the top players into stars.
There were many inventions and new types of technology developed during the 1920s, but possibly the one that had the greatest impact before the turn of the next decade was Radio. It soon became a staple of peoples lives providing entertainment, news, and new ideas. Another very important invention also started to impact peoples lives and that was the uses of airplanes apart from as a weapon of war. Air Mail would provide some of the impetus and investment needed to improve stability and provide a practical use, as a byproduct the airplane became used as a means for entertainment with stunts at Fairs. Man also realized he could push the bounds by attempting previously un-thought of ideas. A good example is Charles A. Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic Ocean by himself in an airplane.
It was during the 20's that automatic vending machines began to appear to dispense soft drinks.
Inventions -- The Year Invented, Inventors, and Country (or attributed to First Use)
Aerosol Sprays ----- 1926 Norway by Erik Rotheim
Antibiotic Penicillin ----- 1928 England by Alexander Fleming
Frozen Food ----- 1924 USA by Clarence Birdseye
Handheld Hair Dryer ----- 1920 USA by Hamilton Beach Co.
Vacuum Tube Hearing Aid ----- 1921 USA by Earl Hanson
Iron Lung ----- 1928 USA by Philip Drinker
Liquid Fuel Rocket ----- 1926 USA by Robert Goddard
Quartz Clock ----- 1927 USA by Warren Marrison
Adhesive Bandages ----- 1920 USA by Earle Dickson
Talking Pictures ----- 1927 USA
Television ----- 1924 Scotland by John Logie Baird
Ultracentrifuge (Separates Proteins) ----- 1923 Sweden by The Svedberg
Videophone ----- 1927 USA
Electric Razor ----- 1927 USA by Jacob Schick
Period Leading up to the Decade
You can not talk about the decade without mentioning "The Great Pandemic" from 1918-1919. This influenza epidemic (also known as the Spanish Flu) was a global catastrophe which is believed to have caused the death of over 40 million people worldwide. This is one of the main reasons governments round the world are still so concerned with "Bird Flu" and other largescale influenza outbreaks.