The People History Home - 1950 , 1951 , 1952 , 1953, , 1954, 1955 1956, 1957, 1958, , 1959, - Back To The Fifties Home Page

Other Pages From The Year 1958 Featuring Toys Clothes Fashion Accessories

Jump To Cost Of Living Popular Culture News and Events Technology Born This Year World Leaders 1958 Calendar

1958 bought Americans recession with a vengeance and large increases in unemployment over 7.0% ( 5.2 million ) , inflation dipped below 2% in 1958 so those in work earning the average wages of $3,851 per year were quite well off , cars continued to get bigger and heavier with larger engines, but imports continued to grow now with the added Datsun and more Toyotas from Japan. Americas first satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral. This is also the year that the Microchip first developed which is the very early stages of PC's we all now use at work and at home. This was also the year of the Munich air disaster on 6th February in which 7 Manchester United Players died.

Cost of Living 1958

How Much things cost in 1958
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 2.73%
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 2.7%
Average Cost of new house $12,750.00 Average Monthly Rent $92.00 Average Yearly Wages $4.600.00 Cost of a gallon of Gas 25 cents
Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling
Average House Price 2,390
Part of our 1950s Toys Selection of 250 Fifties Toys
Price: $4.39
Dennis the Menace From The 1950s

From Fifties Fashion Section
Price: $2.98
Profile Beret

Price: $3.98
Polka Dot Coat Dress
From Our Fifties Furniture Page
Price: $16.95
Palomino Plastic Furniture
From Our Fifties Electrical
Price: $76.95
 Hi-Fi with Radio

What Events Happened in 1958

  • NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration is formed
United States
  • The U.S. launches the Explorer 1 satellite.
More Information for Explorer 1
The U.S. launches the Explorer 1 satellite during January of 1958. Explorer 1 was first the satellite to be launched by the United States. The Soviet Union had already launched the world’s first satellite with Sputnik 1 in October of the previous year. The Explorer 1 was launched on a Jupiter C rocket and was used to measure the radiation in Earth’s orbit. The satellite successfully orbited Earth over 58,000 times before it re-entered the atmosphere in 1970. The success of the Explorer 1 satellite was an important milestone in the earliest years of the space race between the United States and Soviet Union.

Egypt and Syria
  • Syria and Egypt become politically unified with the creation of the United Arab Republic.
More Information for the United Arab Republic
The United Arab Republic (UAR) was created during February of 1958 when Egypt and Syria became politically unified. The UAR was the first step in an attempt to create a Pan-Arab state in the Middle East. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and Syrian President Shukri al-Quwatli worked together to create the merger, with Nasser becoming the leader of the UAR after his Syrian counterpart stepped down. Both countries held referendums that month, allowing citizens in Syria and Egypt to vote on the matter. There were overwhelming majorities in both nations voting in favor of the creation of the United Arab Republic. The United Arab Republic was dissolved in September of 1961 when Syria declared itself independent after a military coup.

  • Expo 58 takes place in Brussels, Belgium.
More Information for the Brussels World's Fair
1. The Brussels World’s Fair, also known as Expo 58, begins during April of 1958 in Belgium.
2. This was the first major World’s Fair to be organized after the end of World War II with the previous World’s Fairs taking place in New York during 1939 and 1940.
3. The site chosen for Expo 58 spanned about 490 acres and was the same site of the 1935 Brussels International Expo.
4. It featured several pavilions that showcased science, arts, architecture, engineering, and various countries along with their cultures and accomplishments.
5. The main attraction of the fair was the unusually shaped “Atomium” building.
6. The 1958 Brussels World’s Fair saw over 41 million visitors before it concluded during October.

  • 14 year old Bobby Fischer wins the United States Chess Championship.
  • The Munich Air Disaster occurs after a plane crashes carrying the Manchester United team on on February 6th
More Information for the Munich Air Disaster

The Munich Air Disaster took place on February 6, 1958 when a British European Airways flight crashed at the Munich Airport. The flight was carrying 44 people when it crashed soon after take-off. Many of those on board were sports journalists and members of the Manchester United football team who were on their way home after having qualified for the semifinals in the European Cup. A total of 23 people died as a result of the crash, 8 of them were members of the Manchester United team. The pilot of the flight survived and was later charged with negligence as it was originally believe that a build-up of ice on the planes wings had caused the crash. While there was some ice found on the wings it was determined that a build-up of slush on the runway was the major contributing factor in the crash as it stopped the plane from gaining enough speed for a proper take-off. The crash was a tragedy, especially for sports fans, as the loss of several very young and talented players was devastating. It took Manchester United nearly 10 years to rebuild the team and in 1968 they went on to win the European Cup.

United States - Hope Diamond
  • The Hope Diamond is donated to the Smithsonian Institution.
More Information for the Hope Diamond
1. Jeweler Harry Winston donates the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in November of 1958.
2. The legendary 45.52-carat, blue-hued diamond’s history can be traced back to the mid-1600’s when it was likely purchased from a mine in India and then sold to King Louis XIV of France.
3. It remained in the hands of French rulers until the late 1700s when it was stolen.
4. It eventually ended up with the family of Henry Philip Hope until the early 1910s.
5. Pierre Cartier then acquired it, re-set it and sold it to U.S. heiress Evalyn Walsh McLean.
6. McLean kept it until her death in 1947, after which Harry Winston purchased it.
7. Winston showed the diamond at exhibits and events until he donated it to the Smithsonian where it has remained ever since.

  • Toyota and Datsun Cars go on sale in The US
  • Nikita Khrushchev becomes Premier of the Soviet Union
  • Nelson Rockefeller Elected Governor of New York
  • US Unemployment reaches 5.2 million
  • US passenger jet flights start with a National Airlines Boeing 707
  • President Eisenhower signs the Rivers and Harbors Flood Control Bill into law.
  • The first Trans Atlantic passenger jetliner service begins with flights between London and New York on the new British Comet Jet
  • Iraq becomes a Republic on July 14th after Military Coup
  • Packard Cars end production as the company closes August 19th
  • Edsel Automobiles begin selling the Citation and Corsair, Pacer and Ranger cars ( closes down end of 1959 )
  • Pope John XXIII is crowned 262nd pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Sir Edmund Hillary reaches the South Pole
  • The Microchip co-invented by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments and Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductors later developed and marketed in US by Intel.
More Information for the integrated circuit/microchip.
The integrated circuit, an essential piece of technology used in modern electronics, was created during September of 1958 by Jack Kilby. Kilby, a newly-hired engineer at Texas Instruments, came up with the idea to miniaturize all of the parts of an entire transistor circuit and connect them all together, creating a smaller and easy to produce unit called an integrated circuit. While Kilby was not the only person credited with the idea of an integrated circuit, he was the first to create a working model and file a patent for the technology. The creation of the integrated circuit led to much of the technology our modern computers and electronics are based on today.

  • The Great Chinese Famine begins in 1958 and ending in 1961 causing the death of nearly 30 million through a combination of natural disasters and poor planning.
  • Elvis Presley is inducted into the Army.
  • General Charles de Gaulle becomes Prime Minister of France.
  • Brazil wins the 1958 World Cup in Sweden


  • The Microchip co-invented by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments and Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductors later developed and marketed in US by Intel
  • London Gatwick Airport opens on June 9th after two years of extensive reconstruction
  • US Nuclear Submarine " Nautilus " passes under Ice Cap at North Pole
  • The US Military says it will be possible with satellites orbiting the earth to make detailed maps from space

Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )
Microchip USA by Jack Kilby
Computer Modem USA
Remote Control USA Zennith Corporation

Popular Culture 1958

  • The Wham-O company introduces the Hula Hoop; over 100 million are sold.
  • The Broadway musical "My Fair Lady" opens in London, with Rex Harrison as Professor Higgins, and Julie Andrews playing Eliza Doolittle

Popular Films

  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • South Pacific
  • Gigi
  • King Creole
  • Vertigo

Popular Singers

  • Elvis Presley
  • Billie Holiday
  • Ricky Nelson
  • Frank Sinatra
  • The Everly Brothers
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Jerry Lee Lewis

Popular TV Programmes

  • Candid Camera
  • The Ed Sullivan Show
  • Come Dancing
  • The Jack Benny Show
  • Panorama
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Check out our Television Programmes From The 50s whenever possible we have included a trailer to jog your memory. Series trailers and more information are found on the decade they started.

Born This Year

Andrea Bocelli September 22nd
Tanya Tucker October 10th
Simon Le Bon October 27th
Jamie Lee Curtis November 22nd

1958 Calendar

Major World Political Leaders

Australia Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies Brazil President Juscelino Kubitschek Canada Prime Minister John Diefenbaker

China Chairman of the People's Republic of China Mao Zedong

France President René Coty

Germany Chancellor Konrad Adenauer
India Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru

Italy Prime Minister Adone Zoli Till 1 July
Italy Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani From 1 July
Japan Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi Mexico President Adolfo Ruiz Cortines Till 30 November
Mexico President Adolfo López Mateos From 30 November
Russia / Soviet Union
First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev South Africa Prime Minister Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom Till 24 August
South Africa Prime Minister Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd From 24 August

United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower United Kingdom Prime Minister Harold Macmillan

Political Elections

Canadian Federal Election 1958 John Diefenbaker ( Progressive Conservatives ) defeats Lester B. Pearson ( Liberal )