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What Happened in 1958 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture

What Happened in 1958 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture Major News Stories include The Microchip Invented, Great Chinese Famine, First Trans Atlantic passenger jetliner service begins, Munich air disaster, US Military predicts satellites orbiting the earth to make detailed maps from space,

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

Yearly Inflation Rate USA 2.73%

Yearly Inflation Rate UK 2.7%

Average Cost of new house $12,750.00

Average wages per year - $4,600.00

Minimum Hourly Rate $1.00

Average Monthly Rent $92.00 per month

Bacon per pound 65 cents

gallon of Gas 25 cents

Eggs per dozen 32 cents

Palomino Plastic Furniture from $16.95

Average House Price UK - 2,390

United States - NASA Created

United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act into law, creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, commonly referred to as NASA. It was established on July 29th as an executive branch federal agency with the mission of researching aerospace and the peaceful scientific applications of aeronautics. NASA, a civilian-oriented agency, replaced the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics which had been more military-based. Upon its creation, President Eisenhower appointed T. Keith Glennan as the first administrator of NASA.

The Munich Air Disaster

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, 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.

The U.S. launches the Explorer 1 satellite.

The U.S. launches the Explorer 1 satellite.

More Information for Explorer 1

The U.S. launches the Explorer 1 satellite during January . 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 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.

Soviet Union -- Sputnik 3 Launched

The Soviet Union successfully launches the Sputnik 3 satellite on May 15. The satellite carried twelve experiments into space and its mission was to study the composition of the atmosphere and cosmic rays while orbiting the Earth. At the time, Sputnik 3 was the largest satellite ever launched and it weighed nearly 3000 pounds. The cone-shaped satellite remained operational for 692 days before it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere in April of 1960, disintegrating upon re-entry.

USA -- USS Nautilus Reaches North Pole

The USS Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine, successfully crossed under the North Pole during August in the first undersea journey to the geographic North Pole. The submarine was captained by Commander William R. Anderson and carried 4 civilian scientists and 111 officers and crew. The submarine began its journey at Point Barrow, Alaska and traveled under the Arctic ice cap at a depth of about 500 feet for over 1,000 miles. After making it to the North Pole, the Nautilus kept traveling until it reached the Atlantic Ocean, stopping near Iceland.

Brussels World's Fair

1. The Brussels World's Fair, also known as Expo 58, begins during April 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 Brussels World's Fair saw over 41 million visitors before it concluded during October.

Part of our Fashion Collection From this Year

Women's Fashion Clothing Examples From this Year

Part of our Collection of Toys From this Year

1958 Toys

1958 Popular Culture

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


King Creole


Popular TV

Candid Camera

The Ed Sullivan Show

Come Dancing

The Jack Benny Show


Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Popular Singers

Elvis Presley

Billie Holiday

Ricky Nelson

Frank Sinatra

The Everly Brothers

Ella Fitzgerald

Jerry Lee Lewis

Part of our 1950s Home Appliances

1958 Semi-Automatic Washer 1958 Semi-Automatic Washer
Price: $149.95
Most nearly automatic wringer-washer ever made! Has the safest instant-stop wringer that guards against accident and has deep-surge agitated power rinse and built-in lint filter. Has an eight-position automatic wringer stop with no lever to release. Automatic timer shuts off washer and rings a reminder bell. Capacity to wash ten pounds of clothing at once. Washer tub is porcelain enameled inside and out and has chromed drain boards and controls.

United States - Vanguard 1 Satellite

The United States launches the first solar-powered satellite, Vanguard 1, during March. This was only the fourth successful satellite launch in the world at the time, following the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2 and the United States’ Explorer 1. Vanguard 1 weighed less than 2 kg and had a 16.5 cm (6.4 in) diameter. Solar technology was new at the time and meant that unlike the previous battery operated satellites, Vanguard 1 would have an extended ability to transmit information back to Earth. Communications with the satellite were not lost until 1964. The mission’s purpose was to test the capabilities of a three-stage launch vehicle and the environmental effects of satellites.

Explorer 3 Space Mission Ends

The United States’ Explorer 3 satellite mission ended during June. It had been launched into Earth’s orbit during March and was the second successful launch of the Explorer series of satellites. Its mission was to investigate and confirm James Van Allen’s theory that the magnetic field of Earth trapped radiation around the planet. It was successful in its mission objectives and decayed from orbit after 93 days when it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere.

United States - SCORE Satellite

The SCORE (Signal Communications Satellite Relay Equipment) satellite is launched from Cape Canaveral during December. It was the world’s first communications satellite and was used for experimental purposes to test how satellite communications would work and what problems it might encounter. The creation of SCORE was funded and overseen by the US Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). It’s launch also represented the first successful use of an Atlas rocket as a launch vehicle. The satellite performed experiments for about twelve days of its 35 days in orbit, including the transmission of a recorded message from President Eisenhower.

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 .

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.

United Kingdom - Peace Symbol Created

The peace symbol was created during February by British designer Gerald Holton. Holton drew the symbol in preparation for the Aldermaston Marches, a series of anti-nuclear weapons protests beginning in April of that year and organized by the Direct Action Committee (DAC). Another prominent anti-nuclear weapons group, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), was established around the same time and decided to adopt the peace symbol as its logo. Holton’s design, a black circle with a vertical line down the center and two downward pointing lines at 45 degree angles on either side of the center line, was not copyrighted and has since become an international symbol for worldwide peace.

The Microchip

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 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.

Born This Year in 1958

Andrea Bocelli

September 22nd, Lajatico, Italy

Tanya Tucker

October 10th, Seminole, TX

Simon Le Bon

October 27th, Bushey, United Kingdom

Jamie Lee Curtis

November 22 News Events, Santa Monica, CA

Michael Jackson

August 29th Gary, IN


August 16, Bay City, MI


June 7th, Minneapolis, MN

Alec Baldwin

April 3rd, Amityville, NY

Ice T

February 16th, Newark, NJ

Calendar For The Year 1958

1958 Calendar



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


NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration is formed


14 year old Bobby Fischer wins the United States Chess Championship.


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 19


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.


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 World Cup in Sweden

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 --

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