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1950s Important News and Events, Key Technology Fashion and Popular Culture

Fifties Fashions, the peak of the Baby Boomer Years where following the end of the great depression and then World War II people wanted to live a normal life raising a family, teens found rock and roll music and Elvis, parents found more consumer choice and jobs were abundant.

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

1950

What Happened in 1950 History

The Diner's Club begins issuing the first credit cards.

The Korean War begins when North Korea invades South Korea.

Famous physicist Albert Einstein warns the world that a nuclear war would lead to mutual destruction.

The United States begins the development and production of the hydrogen bomb.

The FIFA World Cup is held in Brazil and Uruguay wins the title.

1951

What Happened in 1951 History

"I Love Lucy" premieres on television on the CBS network.

DJ Alan Freed coins the term "Rock n' Roll."

Libya becomes independent from Italian rule after about forty years.

Luis Miramontes develops the first oral contraceptive.

The United States ratifies the 22nd amendment, limiting a president to two terms.

1952

What Happened in 1952 History

Elizabeth II becomes the Queen of England after her father, George VI, dies.

The first hydrogen bomb is successfully detonated by the United States.

The Mau Mau Rebellion begins in Kenya as an effort to end the British rule of the country.

Puerto Rico is named as a self-governing commonwealth of the U.S.

The first issue of the comedy-driven MAD Magazine is published.

1953

What Happened in 1953 History

The Double Helix DNA Model is revealed by Francis Crick and James Watson.

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay become the first people to successfully climb to the top of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.

Jonas Salk develops the first polio vaccine.

The first James Bond novel, "Casino Royale," is published by British author Ian Fleming.

Joseph Stalin, the leader of the USSR, dies and is replaced by Nikita Khrushchev.

1954

What Happened in 1954 History

The U.S. Supreme Court rules that racial segregation is unconstitutional in public schools in their unanimous decision of Brown v. Board of Education.

U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy is censured by the Senate, ending his four year long hunt for Communists within the United States government.

Frozen TV Dinners are introduced by Swanson.

Ellis Island ceases to be a point of immigration into the U.S. when it officially closes.

Roger Bannister becomes the first recorded man to run a mile in under four minutes.

1950's Fashion

With the economic boom in the Fifties, glamour become fashionable once again and A-line and pencil skirts were very popular form-fitting fashions. Dresses in the decade would often feature stylish ruffles or lace accents and were usually knee-length or tea-length. Going into the late fifties and 1960s mini-dresses and maxi-length skirt outfits entered the scene. The mid-50's trends in women's fashion changed again. Round-neck styles on sleeveless shirts or long sleeve shirts were popular, as well as polo-necks. Dolman sleeves dominated fashionable tops in the fifties and sixties, The examples below are from Our new updated Fifties Fashion Section, with examples of Ladies, Mens and Children's Fashion Clothes and Accessory examples including dresses, hats, shoes and much more take a little time to browse through them

Ladies Dresses From The 1950's

Examples of Ladies Dresses From The 1950's

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 2021 it would be equivalent to $1,104 today

In 1950 a new house cost $8,450.00 and by 1959 was $12,400.00

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

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

1955

What Happened in 1955 History

The popular children's television show "The Mickey Mouse Club" premieres. The Disneyland theme park in California also opened during this year..

The Warsaw Pact is signed by the Soviet Union and seven of its satellite countries (Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, and Czechoslovakia).

Rosa Parks is arrested in Alabama after she refuses to give up her bus seat to a white passenger, sparking the Civil Rights Movement.

The McDonald's chain of restaurants is started by Ray Kroc.

The United States adds "In God We Trust" to all paper currency.

1956

What Happened in 1956 History

The popular musician Elvis Presley has his very first hit song, "Heartbreak Hotel."

American Actress Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco.

The Suez Crisis begins after Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal.

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 becomes law, allowing for the mass construction of tens of thousands of interstate highways in the U.S.

Albert Sabin creates the oral polio vaccine to replace the Salk vaccine.

1957

What Happened in 1957 History

The USSR successfully launches Sputnik 1, the very first artificial satellite. They also launch Sputnik 2 later in the year, a satellite that carried the first animal into space.

The "Baby Boom" peaks during this year.

Nine African-American students enroll at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas and are met with resistance by protesters and the state's governor. Federal troops end up escorting the students into the school at the command of President Eisenhower.

The European Economic Community is created when West Germany, Italy, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg sign the Treaty of Rome.

Malaysia and Ghana gain independence from the United Kingdom.

From our 1950s Homes pages

1958 Hi-Fi with Radio 1958 Hi-Fi with Radio
Price $76.95
Plum-red and white case. Sensitive AM radio pulls in distant stations. Four tubes plus rectifier chassis. Built-in antenna. Speakers; one six inch woofer for low notes and one three inch tweeter for highs. Has deluxe four speed changer that plays all size records. Changer shuts itself off after last record plays. Ceramic turnover cartridge with two sapphire needles for regular microgroove records.
1952 Starburst Plastic Table Set 1952 Starburst Plastic Table Set
Price: $110.00
New unusual "starburst" design on a chrome-plated dinette set. Like sparkling stars against brilliantly colored backgrounds. Table comes in dark mint green, sunshine yellow, cherry red, or dawn gray. Three inch rounded stainless steel apron on table and matching twelve inch center leaf. Chairs have extra-large backs with extra-deep curve for comfort.

1958

What Happened in 1958 History

The microchip is co-invented by Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby.

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is created.

Bobby Fischer, a fourteen-year-old boy, wins the U.S. Chess Championship.

The popular children's toy the Hula-Hoop is created by Wham-O.

The Great Chinese Famine begins.

1959

What Happened in 1959 History

The Cuban revolution ends and Fidel Castro comes to power, creating the first Communist nation in the West.

Alaska and Hawaii are admitted as the 49th and 50th states in the U.S.

The Soviet Union's Luna 2 spacecraft becomes the first man-made object to touch the surface of the Moon after it crashes.

The first astronauts are introduced by NASA ( John H. Glenn, Jr. and Alan Shepard, Jr. ).

The St. Lawrence Seaway is completed.

Other Major Events From The 50'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.

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

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.

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.

Following the end of the war a mini consumer boom followed with the baby boom, new homes and improved wealth for the working man a boom in electrical appliances and gadgets followed for TV's, Washing Machines, fridges, music players and more.

As new homes were built furniture was needed to fill them and with the restrictions ended on use of raw materials and a feeling of calm and prosperity, plus the acailabilty of new materials new furniture became bright and functional,

Technology

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

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