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Inventions of the Fifties

For those of you born within the last two decades, your experience with science and technology is unique with respect to the speed and frequency of inventions and innovations. But it wasn't always so.

We may have thought there were great new things, like colored kitchen appliances and transistor radios, but we could not have anticipated the PC, cellphones, DVDs or the like. We thought it was cool when 78 rpm (rotations per minute) records became 33s. We were astonished when records could be heard in stereo.

You should also remember that just because a thing is invented, doesn't mean average people get to play with it. Usually, the "thing" is used for business and then adapted for home use. Often, this first introduction to the general public is too expensive for the average person. It can take time for prices to drop to where an invention goes into mainstream use. In your own lives, the DVD player is a good example.

Here's a list of some of the major inventions and innovations of the Fifties.


Fifties Pop History Zenith introduces "lazy bones" tuning - change all television stations from the comfort of your easy chair. Hand held device plugs into TV
Fifties Pop History Antihistamines enter popular use for treatment of allergies and head-colds.
Fifties Pop History Leo Fender's guitar company introduced their Broadcaster and Esquire models, the first mass-produced solid body electric guitars.
Fifties Pop History Telephone Answering Machine created by Bell Laboratories and Western Electric.


Fifties Pop History UNIVAC 1 First commercial computer.
Fifties Pop History A.E.C. (Atomic Energy Commission) produces electricity from atomic energy.
Fifties Pop History Super glue invented.
Fifties Pop History American automobile manufacturer Chrysler Corporation introduces power steering., which they called Hydraguide.
Fifties Pop History Charles Ginsburg invented the first videotape recorder (VTR).
Fifties Pop History J. Andre-Thomas invents the first heart-lung machine, allowing advanced life-support during open-heart surgery.
Fifties Pop History Still camera gets built-in flash units.


Fifties Pop History Mr. Potato Head patented.See the original.
Fifties Pop History The first patent for bar code (US Patent #2,612,994) issued to inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver
Fifties Pop History American automobile manufacturer Chrysler Corporation introduces power steering., which they called Hydraguide.
Fifties Pop History Sony, a brand new Japanese company, introduces the first pocket-sized transistor radio More


Fifties Pop History Radial tires invented.
Fifties Pop History The first musical synthesizer invented by RCA
Fifties Pop History The first 3-D movie is shown: Arch Oboler's Bwana Devil, starring Robert Stack. Learn More
Fifties Pop History Francis Crick and James Watson discover the ``double helix'' of DNA.
Fifties Pop History Con-Tact paper debuts
Fifties Pop History Dr. Jonas Salk announces discovery of the vaccine for poliomyelitis
Fifties Pop History White Rose Redi-tea is the world's first instant iced tea
Fifties Pop History Dow Chemical creates Saran Wrap
Fifties Pop History TV color broadcasting began in 1953


Fifties Pop History Oral contraceptives invented.
Fifties Pop History The first nonstick pan produced.
Fifties Pop History The solar cell invented by Chaplin, Fuller and Pearson.
Fifties Pop History The first successful kidney transplant is performed in the U.S. by Harvard physicians. The patient will survive for seven more years.
Fifties Pop History General Electric introduces colored kitchen appliances. Bye, bye white!


Fifties Pop History Tetracycline invented.
Fifties Pop History Optic fiber invented
Fifties Pop History Zenith engineer Eugene Polley invented the "Flashmatic," which represented the industry's first wireless TV remote.
Fifties Pop History Gregory Pincus develops the first oral contraceptive
Fifties Pop History The first home microwave ovens are manufactured by Tappan. They cost $1300 which really slows sales!


Fifties Pop History The first computer hard disk used.
Fifties Pop History The hovercraft invented by Christopher Cockerell.
Fifties Pop History As a result of the joint research of Sherman and Smith, the Scotchgard™ Protector was launched in the marketplace
Fifties Pop History Secretary Bette Nesmith Graham invented "Mistake Out" later renamed, Liquid Paper
Fifties Pop History Los Alamos Laboratory discovers the neutrino, an atomic particle with no electric charge.
Fifties Pop History Anti-protons detected in the atmosphere.
Fifties Pop History The first commercial videotape recorder is introduced. The device is intended for industrial applications, and it quickly revolutionizes the way television programming is produced.


Fifties Pop History Fortran (computer language) invented.
Fifties Pop History Velcro is patented by George de Mestral of Switzerland.
Fifties Pop History Eveready produces "AA" size alkaline batteries


Fifties Pop History The modem invented.
Fifties Pop History Gordon Gould invents the laser.
Fifties Pop History The Hula Hoop invented by Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin.
Fifties Pop History The integrated circuit invented by Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce.
Fifties Pop History Sterophonic recordings, which use two separately recorded channels of sound to recreate a sense of space, come into commercial use.


Fifties Pop History The internal pacemaker invented by Wilson Greatbatch. In 1959,
Fifties Pop History Joseph-Armand Bombardier of Valcourt, Quebec, Canada patented the Ski-Doo, originally christened the Ski-Dog, but renamed because of a typographical error that Bombardier decided not to change. You know it as a snowmobile.

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