Money and Inflation 1950's

To provide an estimate of inflation 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 1950 to 2005 it would be equivalent to $835.41 today

In 1950 a new house cost $8,450.00 and by 1959 was $12,400.00 More House Prices
In 1950 the average income per year was $3,210.00 and by 1959 was $5,010.00
In 1950 a gallon of gas was 18 cents and by 1959 was 25 cents
In 1950 the average cost of new car was $1,510.00 and by 1959 was $2,200.00 More Cars and Car Prices

Toys 1950s

Childrens offered a much wider range following the boom in babies born, but toys were very much gender designed with dolls, prams, dressmaking for girls toys and Cowboys and indians, cars and construction sets for boys.
From Our Fifties Vintage Toys Collection Section
Price: $1.00
Mr. Potato Head Toy


A few more prices from the 50's and how much things cost
Chrysler New Yorker $4347 1958 Chevrolet Corvette $3631 Men's All Wool Suits $28.90 Square dance Cotton Check Dress $3.29 Electric Portable Singer Sewing Machine $19.90 Ronson Electric Shaver $28.50 Rib Roast 29 cents per pound Ritz Crackers 32 cents Rollaway Beds $14.95 Ring 1 carat Diamond $399.00 Mechanical Adding Machine $3.98
Example of a home from 50's

1951 River Frontage Lot Sheboygan Wisconsin 1 1/2 Acres River front plot on Sheboygan River $750

Example of the types of cars available and prices in the 50's


Cadillac Convertible 1959
Tailfins the ultimate car with tailfins produced by Cadillac with the chrome to go with it and a 325 Horsepower engine and power anything and everything Prices From $5,400

1958 Nash Metropolitan
The Metropolitan foreign small car with sports car flavor Prices From $1,626

Aerocar 1951
The car with the built in freeway This seemed like a good idea , wonder why it never caught on Prices From $10,000

Austin Healey 1958
Powerful twin Carb, 102 HP, Hydraulic Brakes, 4 speed synchromesh transmission 2 occasional rear seats Prices From $3,400

You Will find many more prices in dedicated 50's sections



Events 1950's

  • The 50's were the time when the shape of the political landscape in the world could be clearly defined between the Soviet dominated East and the capitalist West.
  • The cold war became a grim reality because both sides had the power and technology for a Nuclear holocaust, but equally both knew any war could not truly be won.
  • Following the end of the second world war the economies of the western world boomed which led to the start of a consumer-led economy that seemed to have no bounds .
  • With the forming of the EEC European Economic Community, West Germany enjoyed a growth which exceeded any expectations at the end of the war.
  • Following on to the break up of the British Empire which before had occupied 30% of the globe many fledgling democracies were starting to find their own identities including India Pakistan Rhodesia now ( Zimbabwe ), and having the growing pains that any new democracy would face .
  • During the 50's and following decades more and more of the old colonial empires would be forced to allow allow countries their independence.
  • Following the creation of the new State of Israel there were many conflicts in the middle east which are still occurring to this day. The Suez Crisis in 1956 begins on July 26th as the supply of oil is blocked through the Suez Canal
  • Like Germany in Europe Japan saw massive economic growth by supplying the goods needed for the consumer-led society in both Europe and the United States.

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Sporting Changes In The 50's

Baseball
New York teams rule 50s baseball with the Yankees, Giants and Dodgers
The game spreads with whole teams being relocated to other parts of the country including Boston Braves to Milwaukee and New York Giants to San Francisco
Television begins broadcasting live games and unlike Radio a decade before had a negative impact on attendance
Basketball
Chuck Cooper drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1950, becomes the first black player in the NBA.
24-second shot clock Introduced in Pro Game In 1954 forcing a team to shoot it within that 24 seconds, or give the ball to the other team.
Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain dominate the game winning 8 out of 10 MVP trophy's from 1958 to 1968
Association Football (Soccer)
Following the end of World War II the game takes center stage in 1950 with the first world cup since 1938 held in Brazil where Uruguay won the world cup again.
Attendance at British soccer matches Skyrocket with 30 million going to stadiums around the UK.
American Football
Television Helps Gain New Fans to NFL but decreases local atendence
Cleveland Browns Make Big Impact ON NFL winning Three NFL Championship games
Ice Hockey
Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs Dominate The Decade
Televised hockey Takes Off
Zamboni ice-smoothing tractor Used For First Time
Facemask For goaltenders introduced
For More Sporting history, Origins, Events and Changes, Please Check Out Our New Sports History Section.

Technology Fifties

  • First oral contraceptive ( the Pill )invented by Luis E. Miramontes
  • The Soviet Union launches Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth. and so starts the space race and man's exploration of our solar system

Inventions The Year Invented Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )

Atomic Clock ----- 1955 England
Breeder Reactor ----- 1951 USA Converted Uranium to Plutonium
Computer Modem ----- 1958 USA
Credit Card ----- 1950 USA by Ralph Schneider
Hovercraft ----- 1955 England by Christopher Cockerell
Hydrogen Bomb ----- 1952 USA by Edward Teller's team
Lunar Probe ----- 1959 Russia Lunik I passed the Moon;
Lunar Probe ----- 1959 Russia Lunik II crashed on the Moon;
Lunar Probe ----- 1959 Russia Lunik III photographed the far side of the Moon
Microchip ----- 1958 USA by Jack Kilby
Nuclear Power ----- 1956 England First power station at Calder Hall
Robot ----- 1954 USA by George C Devol Jr
Satellite ----- 1957 Russia Sputnik I
Solar Cell ----- 1954 USA Or Photovoltaic cells
Transistor Radio ----- 1953 USA Texas Instruments
Video Recorder ----- 1956 USA
Video Tape ----- 1956 USA

Popular Culture 1950s

Popular Culture in the 50's can be captured in just a few words which speak volumes. "The Cold War", "Baby Boomers" , "Korea" , "The Red Scare",. This was the decade where people built Bomb Shelters, had babies and the news was filled with what the reds were doing or going to do.

Some of the Most Well Known Movie Stars of the Fifties
Gary Cooper
Bing Crosby
Bob Hope
John Wayne
James Stewart
Frank Sinatra
Marilyn Monroe
William Holden
50s Music

The other important change was in how teenagers were viewed up until the 50's teenagers were just children and were treated as such the 50's and future decades changed that where teenagers became an important section of society when politicians and others realized teenagers would very quickly become voters and consumers and a new generation of pop stars including Elvis Presley were created whose main target audience was teenagers.


As the radio had done in the 20's providing the masses with news and entertainment so the TV did in the fifties originally broadcasting in black and white but later in color



This was also a time of great affluence after the depression years and the World Wars consumerism took off in a big way which in turn created jobs and wealth and a circle of growth


Following on from black men joining the forces and fighting for their country , a change was needed to treat this section of society equally " they had fought for their country " and should be treated as equals, and the battle for civil rights began


  • The frozen "french fries" were invented by the JR Simplot company in the early 50's and up till the time McDonalds still peeled, cut and prepared fries on the premises
  • A common name termed for people born in the 50's are the baby boomers . ( after the depression in the 30's and the world war in the 40's ) people felt confident enough to have children and an explosion in the population occurred.


TV Shows 1950s

  • Perry Mason 1957 - 1966. Perry Mason played by actor Raymond Burr.
  • Rawhide 1959 - 1966. Starring Eric Fleming and Clint Eastwood.
  • The Phil Silvers Show 1955 - 1959. with US Army master sergeant Ernest G. Bilko played by Phil Silvers.
  • Lassie 1954 - 1973.
  • The Lone Ranger 1949 - 1954.
  • Bonanza 1959 - 1973.
  • 77 Sunset Strip 1958 - 1964.
  • The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin 1954 - 1959.
  • Gunsmoke 1955 - 1975.
  • The Twilight Zone ( Original Series ) 1959 - 1964.
Check out our Television Programmes From The 1950s whenever possible we have included a trailer to jog your memory. Series trailers and more information are found on the decade they started.