The postwar economy of the 1950 s
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The Postwar Economy of the 1950’s. By Angela Brown. Bellringer: Think and Write. Brainstorm a list of the inventions that would be completely new to a person from the 1950s if he or she were suddenly transported to the present. What modern invention do you think is the most important today?.

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Bellringer think and write
Bellringer: Think and Write

  • Brainstorm a list of the inventions that would be completely new to a person from the 1950s if he or she were suddenly transported to the present.

  • What modern invention do you think is the most important today?

Business reorganization
Business Reorganization

  • U.S. embarked on one of its greatest periods of economic expansion

  • GNP: 212 billion in 1945 to $504 billion in 1960

  • Per Capita income – average income per person, increased from $1526 to $2788

  • GM’s Ford, Chrysler controlled automobile industry

  • General Electric and Westinghouse controlled electrical business

Is the second largest media

conglomerate after AOL Time

Warner. business due to great Depression became

  • 1954 Ray Kroc purchased Mac Donald’s and built a nationwide chain

  • Others quickly saw benefits in selling franchises – the right to open a restaurant using a parent company’s brand name and system

Television business due to great Depression became


  • By 1953 2/3 of all families owned a TV

  • By 1955 watched 4 to 5 hours a day on average

  • Howdy Doody, The Mickey Mouse Club, American Bandstand, I Love Lucy, and Father knows best

  • Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob Smith


http:// business due to great Depression became

  • Three networks controlled TV programming .

  • They raised money through advertising

  • The companies got their monies worth – America bought

The computer industry
The Computer Industry business due to great Depression became

  • Grace Hopper, researcher at Harvard University computation lab created software that runs a computer.

  • Hopper coined the phrase “debugging”

  • She removed a moth

  • 1948 Bell telephone lab invented transistor – tiny circuit device that amplifies, controls, and generates signals

Nuclear power

Generation of to transistorelectrical power through the use of atomic energy resulted from research on atomic bomb

1957 first commercial nuclear power plant in Shippingport, Pennsylvania

From 1940s to early 1970s – fed government exposed as many at 1800 people to radiation in experiments that provided little to no medical benefit

American citizens were used as nuclear calibration instruments


Advances in medicine
Advances in Medicine to transistor

  • 1954 Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. Thomas Francis conducted successful test of Polio vaccine (killed or disabled 20,000 U.S. children every year)

  • 1944 advances in production of antibiotics – penicillin saved countless lives – 1950s discovered other antibiotics

  • Lessons learned in war allowed doctors to operate to correct heart defects

Changes in the work force
Changes in the Work Force to transistor

  • By 1956 a majority of all American workers held white-collar jobs – no longer produced goods but performed services at counters or in offices

  • Workers were encouraged by working conditions but large corporations were impersonal

  • Employers pressured employees to dress, think and act alike

  • Blue Collar conditions also improved – guaranteed cost-of-living increases

  • 1955 – 33% of total labor forces – AFL and CIO merged (American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations)

Moving to the suburbs
Moving to the Suburbs to transistor

  • WWII veterans enjoyed the Servicemens Readjustment Act of 1944 = GI Bill- gave low-interest mortgages to purchase new homes

  • Average Americans could afford to buy homes

Levitt town s
Levitt Town’s to transistor

  • Developers pioneered mass-production in home building

  • Precut and preassembled materials built homes in weeks (William J. Levitt – Levitttown’s

  • Some complained developments all looked alike “Little Boxes” – through usually well-designed and well built

Cars and highways
Cars and Highways to transistor

  • Stores moved from cities to shopping centers in suburbs

  • Americans more dependent on automobile than public transportation = new car designs every year

  • 1956 Interstate Highway Act to transistor provided $26 billion to build an interstate highway system more than 40,000 miles long – allowed for evacuation of major cities in event of emergency

  • Drive-in movies inspired by car culture

The growth of consumer credit
The Growth of Consumer Credit to transistor

  • Gasoline companies offered credit cards to loyal customers

  • Americans willingly went into debt to purchase products they wanted

Frank X. McNamara.Courtesy of Diners Club.