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1930s Important News and Events, Key Technology Fashion and Popular Culture

The Thirties saw the growth of Shanty Towns caused by the Great Depression, Dust Storms, Radical Politics Around The World, and what many consider an upside down world where bank robbers were seen as hero's not villains.

The events listed below we have tried to put a small paragraph on the specific year page providing additional information )


What Happened in 1930 History

Smoot-HawleyTariff bill is passed, raising duties on imports.

The very first FIFA World Cup is held in Uruguay. Uruguay defeats Argentina to win the title.

Mahatma Gandhi and his followers march 200 miles to the salt beds of Jalalpur.

The popular cartoon character "Betty Boop" makes her debut in "Dizzy Dishes."

Great Depression begins.


What Happened in 1931 History

US suffers worst ever drought in its history, leading to the Dust Bowl years.

Australia becomes independent from England.

Francis Scott Key's "Star Spangled Banner" is officially named the United States' national anthem.

Empire State Building is completed.

The Second Spanish Republic is created.


What Happened in 1932 History

The Great Depression influences economies worldwide. More than 24.5% of the population are unemployed in the United States. Over 20% of the workforce are unemployed in the United Kingdom. The Canadian unemployment reached 27%. The German unemployment rate reached nearly 30%.

Amelia Earhart becomes the first female aviator to successfully fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Notorious gangster Al Capone is convicted of Income Tax Evasion.

Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected as the President of the United States.


What Happened in 1933 History

Strong winds strip the topsoil from the drought affected farms in the Midwest.

The first successful solo around-the-world flight is completed by Wiley Post.

Unemployment in the United States reaches its highest level in the winter of 1932 / 1933 with nearly 1 in 3 people unemployed.

The fabled "Loch Ness Monster" is spotted in Scotland for the first time.

Adolf Hitler announces the state sponsored "People's Car" - "Volkswagen"

The 21st Amendment is passed repealing the 18th Amendment ending prohibition of alcohol.

The machine gun is demonstrated by a Japanese scientist.

Money and Inflation 1930'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 1930 to 2021 it would be equivalent to $1,586.09 today

In 1930 average new house cost $7,145.00 and by 1939 was $3,800.00

In 1930 the average income per year was $1,970.00 and by 1939 was $1,730.00

In 1930 a gallon of gas was 10 cents and by 1939 was 10 cents 10 cents

In 1930 the average cost of new car was $640.00 and by 1939 was $700.00

A few more prices from the 30's and how much things cost

Firestone Tire 1932 from $3.69

Single Vision Glasses 1938 $3.85

Complete Modern 10 piece bedroom Suite $79.85

Steak 1938 1LB 20 cents

New Emerson Bedroom Radio 1938 $9.95

Shaefer Pens 1933 from $3.35

Plymouth Roadking Car 1938 $685

Emmerson 5 tube bedroom radio $9.95

Howard Deluxe Quality silk lined hat $2.85

Cotton Chiffon Volle Girls Frock $2.98

Example of a house for sale

1934, Stucco Bungalow, Oakland California , 5 room stucco bungalow , breakfast room , separate garage, delightful location $3,750

Popular Names In the 1930's

Boys Names











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What Happened in 1934 History

Disney introduces the character of "Donald Duck" in the animated short "The Little Wise Hen."

Due to poverty around the world, political extremism including Fascism, Nazism, and extreme Communism gains followers.

John Herbert Dillinger ( Public Enemy Number 1 ) bank robber dies after a shoot out with the FBI.

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow die after a shoot out with FBI.

Slum Clearance begins in New York and other major US cities.

The Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, also known as "The Rock," opens near San Francisco and is used to hold some of the more dangerous and well-known U.S. criminals.


What Happened in 1935 History

The Boulder (Hoover) Dam is completed.

Penguin produces their first paperback books, bringing affordable modern literature to the masses.

Emergency Relief Appropriation Act creates the WPA or Works Progress Administration to provide millions of jobs.

The United States Social Security Act is signed into law.

Legendary player Babe Ruth retires from the sport of baseball after hitting his 714th home-run.

President Roosevelt's Revenue Act (Wealth Tax Act) begins.


What Happened in 1936 History

King Edward VIII abdicates to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Margaret Mitchell's epic Civil War novel "Gone With the Wind" is published.

Jesse Owens wins 4 Gold medals at the Berlin Olympics.

The first public television broadcasts begin in London.

The Spanish Civil War begins during July and does not end until 1939.


What Happened in 1937 History

Prince Albert, the Duke of York, becomes King George VI of England in May.

Amelia Mary Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during a circumnavigation flight attempt.

The United Kingdom's "999" Emergency Telephone Service begins operations.

The German airship Hindenburg bursts into flames while attempting to moor at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

The Memorial Day Massacre takes place in Chicago.

Japan Invades China and seizes Peking, Tietsin, Nanjing, Shanghai and Hangchow.


What Happened in 1938 History

Seabiscuit beats War Admiral in the "Race of the Century."

Orson Welles' radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds is broadcast.

Aviator Howard Hughes flies around the world in 3 days and 19 hours, setting a new record.

The Fair Labor Standards Act ( Wages and Hours Bill ) passes.

Germany begins its persecution of Jews.

The very first "Superman" comic is issued by Action Comics.

1930's Mens and Womens and Childrens Fashion Clothes

Clothing styles were less extravagant for the most part during the 30s. However, you could still tell between the "haves" and "have nots" of this time. Some of the more affluent type of dress was presented by models in issues of the women's magazine Good Housekeeping.
Since the 30s was the decade of recovering from the 1929 Great Depression and stock market crash, companies started researching and implementing cheaper means of clothing manufacturing. New materials that were cheaper to process had been created during this decade to replace more expensive materials.

30s Clothes and Fashions
Few examples of ladies fashion from the 30's

Childrens Toys From The 1930's

Check out the new toys pages where you can see some of the children's toys that could be found during the Depression Years including Balsa Wood Toy Kits, Flossy Flirt Doll, Electric Train Sets and more

Part of our Collection of Toys from The 1930's

Kids Toy Examples From The 1930s

Thirties Homes

Homes were created to help those-usually women during that time-to do house chores easier. Electric ranges (or gas ones) and electric washers were very popular and built with most homes during these times.

Thirties Homes


What Happened in 1939 History

Germany attacks Poland starting World War II.

Lou Gehrig retires from Major League Baseball after being diagnosed with ALS.

Physicists Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard send a letter to President Roosevelt urging the United States to invest time and money into the secret development of nuclear weapons before Germany developed the technology first.

Dictator Francisco Franco conquers Madrid ending the Spanish Civil War.

Russia invades Finland.

The beloved film starring Judy Garland "The Wizard of Oz" premieres.

The World's Fair opens in New York.

Sporting Changes In The 30's


National Baseball Hall of Fame starts with the first players to be chosen Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Babe Ruth
Joe DiMaggio starts his career at the New York Yankees taking the crown over from Babe Ruth who retires.
To help with falling attendance due to the depression, night games are started.
Live Radio broadcasts of baseball games begin to encourage fans to help sell tickets


National Collegiate Athletic Association NCAA holds first championship tourney in 1939 which Oregon won.
Association Football (Soccer)
As it's popularity grew, teams in Britain and later the rest of the world bought in managers who instituted a greater degree of Professionalism, tactics and stricter Training regimes taking the game to new levels.
The first world cup is played in Uruguay in 1930 which the home team won.

American Football

Goalposts were moved from the back of the end zone to the front of the Endzone
NFL Championship game Introduced Between Eastern and Western divisions
The NFL Draft Introduced

Ice Hockey

Toronto Maple Leafs Win Stanley Cup
Great 30's Depression Hits Ice Hockey Teams

Other Major Events From The 30's

Shantytowns form consisting of wood and cardboard in the United States. They are often referred to in history as Hoovertowns after President Hoover

The 30's were a time when the depression caused by the wall street crash in late 1929 caused the world to undergo a fundamental change in lifestyles , and as part of the change some new radical politics became popular as seen in the rise of Fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism

The 30's also provided a strange phenomenon never repeated where bank robbers and murderers were thought of as celebrities ( a sort of modern Robin Hood ) which in truthfulness they did not rob from the rich to give to the poor just to rob and murder any who got in their way.

Thirties Cars

Cars From the 30s

1935 Master De luxe ChevroletNew 1935 Master De luxe Chevrolet with improved master blue flame engine, pressure steam oiling , cable brakes and shock proof steering Cost $560

1932 Chevrolet 6 Performance thrills 0 to 35 mph in 6.7 seconds 60 horsepower silent synchromesh gearbox experience the joy of open top driving without stress or strain. Wide Range of Models included in The Chevrolet 6 Series

From $475

Popular Culture

The wearing of Sunglasses became popular in the 30's

Music 1930s

Big band or swing music becomes popular (from 1935 onward)

Popular Culture

The Film Wizard of OZ
Gone with the Wind
Action Comics continued to grow and Superman is seen in a comic for the first time

Some of the Most Well Known Movie Stars of the Thirties
Clark Gable couple of his films from the 30's
Gone with the Wind and Mutiny on the Bounty
Shirley Temple couple of her films from the 30's
Stand Up and Cheer! and Bright Eyes
Joan Crawford couple of her films from the 30's
Forsaking All Others and Possessed
Will Rogers couple of his films from the 30's
Judge Priest and Life Begins At Forty
Fred Astaire couple of his films from the 30's
Swing Time and Follow the Fleet
Ginger Rogers couple of her films from the 30's
42nd Street and Flying Down to Rio


After the fast pace of technology change in the 20's the 30's did still see some advances including
The Jet Engine
Tea Bags Are introduced and sold Commercially
The First Photocopier Invented but not commercial available till 1948
The BBC broadcasts a wider range of Television Programmes until the Outbreak of War in 1939 and TV stays off the air until 1946 , many of the technical staff are used during for the development of Radar for the war effort
The continued increase in use of Radio for entertainment and the refinement of the Airplane for travel
1930's when the airships LZ127 Graf Zeppelin and LZ129 Hindenburg operated regular transatlantic passenger flights between Germany and both North and South America.

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

Ballpoint Pen ----- 1938 Hungary by Laszlo Bir├│ - also called a biro (UK)
BBC Television ----- 1932 England first regular TV broadcasts (London)
Catseyes ----- 1934 England by Percy Shaw - for lighting roads
Electric Razor ----- 1931 USA by Jacob Schick
Electron Microscope ----- 1933 Germany by Ernst Ruska
Frequency Modulation FM ----- 1939 USA by Edwin H Armstrong - sound by radio waves
Helicopter ----- 1936 Germany by Heinrich Focke
Jet Engine ----- 1930 England by Frank Whittle
Nylon ----- 1931 USA by Wallace Corothers - artificial silk
Magnetic Recording ----- 1936 USA audio tapes
Photocopier ----- 1938 USA by Chester Carlson
Polaroid ----- 1932 USA by Edwin Herbert Land
Radar (for Aircraft) ----- 1935 Scotland by Robert Watson-Watt
Radio Telescope ----- 1932 USA by Karl Jansky
Sticky Tape ----- 1930 USA