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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 The Roaring Twenties Technology 1920 KDKAThe first regular commercial radio broadcasts begin when AM station KDKA of Pittsburgh delivers results of the Harding-Cox election to its listeners. Radio experiences immediate success; by the end of 1922, 563 other licensed stations will join KDKA. 1921 Wirephoto The first electronically-transmitted photograph is sent by Western Union. The idea for a facsimile transmission was first proposed by Scottish clockmaker Alexander Bain in 1843. 1924 Execution In an effort to make capital punishment more humane, the State of Nevada introduces death by gas chamber. Convicted murderer Gee John takes 6 minutes to die. 1926 Rocket Robert H. Goddard, Professor of Physics at Clark University inWorcester, Massachusetts, makes the first successful launch of a liquid-fueled rocket at his aunt Effie's farm in Auburn, Massachusetts. The rocket reaches 41 ft. in altitude. 1927 TelevisionPhilo Farnsworth demonstrates the first television for potential investors by broadcasting the image of a dollar sign. Farnsworth receives backing and applies for a patent, but ongoing patent battles with RCA will prevent Farnsworth from earning his share of the million-dollar industry his invention will create. 1929 Frozen FoodClarence Birdseye offers his quick-frozen foods to the public. Birdseye got the idea during fur-trapping expeditions to Labrador in 1912 and 1916, where he saw the natives use freezing to preserve foods. 1931 Radio Astronomy While trying to track down a source of electrical interference on telephone transmissions, Karl Guthe Jansky of Bell Telephone Laboratories discovers radio waves emanating from stars in outer space. 1932 Defibrillator Working at the research facilities at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. William Bennett Kouwenhoven develops a device for jump-starting the heart with a burst of electricity 1937 Chair Lift Skiers no longer have to climb hills to enjoy their sport. Engineers from the Union Pacific Railroad build a chair lift for the Dollar Mountain resort in Sun Valley, Idaho. Dollar Mountain follows with an order for six more. 1938 Nylon A team of researchers working under Wallace H. Carothers at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company invents a plastic that can be drawn into strong, silk-like fibers. Nylon will soon become popular as a fabric for hosiery as well as industrial applications such as cordage. 1939 Digital ComputerJohn Atanasoff and Clifford Berry of Iowa State College complete the prototype of the first digital computer. It can store data and perform addition and subtractions using binary code. The next generation of the machine will be abandoned before it is completed due to the onset of World War II. 1940 JeepKarl K. Pabst of the Bantam Car. Co., Butler, Pennsylvania, produces a four-wheel drive vehicle that will become famous as the jeep. Given its name by its military designation, G.P., or general purpose, the jeep will be used for numerous transport applications throughout World War II, and will become a popular domestic vehicle after the war. 1942 Atomic ReactionA team working under Italian refugee Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago produces the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. This experiment and others will result in the development of the atomic bomb. Technology changed American lives. Many people bought cars. Electricity made peoples lives easier. It made doing household chores easier and gave people more free time. The Twenties witnessed the large scale use of automobiles, telephones, motion pictures, and electricity, accelerated consumer demand and aspirations, and marked significant changes in lifestyle and culture. Popular culture in the 1920s was characterized by innovation in film, visual art and architecture, radio, music, dance, fashion, literature, and intellectual movements. The movie industry skyrocketed in the 1920s with the growth of Hollywood and downtown movie theaters. Silent films gradually came to be replaced by "talkies" in the late '20s. The 1920s were an age of dramatic social and political change. I went from 1920 to 1942 to show what inventions were made even beyond the 1920's. "American Experience." PBS. Ed. ALFRED P. SLOAN. PBS, 1996. Web. 15 Jan. 2009. <>.
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