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Technology was a big part in the economy of the roaring twenties. Some examples of new technology include: print, radio, movies, Print Media, Radio Programs, RCA, Sound Motion Pictures such as The Jazz Singer, Movie Stars, Credit & Installment Buying, New Transportation such as Airplanes & autos.
The first piece of technology that I will talk about today is airplanes and autos. The first people to have a successful flight were the Wright Brothers on December 17, 1903. Before that, airplanes were so uncommon that if you saw one, you were lucky. After World War I, they were much more used. The first commercial plane was built by Alberto Santos-Dumont, a pioneer aviator who actually invented the airplane. In 1922, the first permanent airport and commercial terminal used solely for commercial flights opens at Flughafen Devau near Konigsberg, East Prussia. The first airport terminal was built in 1927. An airport terminal is a building where people can buy tickets to go on an airplane and a nice, comfortable waiting room so passengers can comfortably wait for their plane to arrive. The first commercial flight (meaning a flight can innocent people could travel on) flew on January 1, 1914 and the first transatlantic flight was on June 14 and June 15 of 1919. The first airplanes were built of light materials such as wood and canvas. Eventually, there were planes that were only made out of metal. The first primary user of the airplane is the United States Postal Service (Post Office Department). They used planes to be able to ship mail over a long distance very quickly. Henry Ford was very upset about airplanes because he is afraid it will hurt his car-making business. Since we are talking about Henry Ford competing with airplanes, let’s shift gears and talk about cars/autos. Henry Ford was the leading producer of autos in the 1920’s. There was a collection called road funding, where the government pays money to make roads for the cars to travel on. Because autos had a lot more traffic than the horses did, they had to invent traffic-controlling methods/materials such as road signs. Since cars had to use gas, gas station owners earned income from sales of gas. Gasoline was between $0.02 per gallon and $0.05 per gallon. Gas tax was paid to the US Government, which helped improve the economy. Some roads were made out of bricks while others were made from gravel. In 1927, Henry Ford invented the Model A which replaced the Model T which was being produced for 18 years.
There are many ways that Airplanes and automobiles affected the economy. First of all, there were gas stations made because the cars need gas to go. Drivers had to pay for gas and also there was tax. The tax got paid to the government and the subtotal got paid to the employees and to help the gas station. Also, travelers needed places to stay while they are traveling, so Motels were invented. Again, people had to pay money to stay at the hotels, so employees are being paid and also the government is being paid. The government uses the money from tourists by repairing and maintaining the roads, motels, gas stations, and road signs as well. Another way is auto shops. When cars broke down, they had to get them repaired. There were no DIYers back then! Everybody took their cars to the shop to get basic things such as new tires and oil changes. That also costed money to pay the technicians and other employees and taxes to pay the government. For airplanes, you had to pay fares, meaning money to fly. They charged taxes and the government and the airplane pilots get paid. Overall, it impacted the economy because more people are getting jobs, the government is getting more money, and the customers have to be employees themselves in order to pay for all of the new technology so money is entering and leaving your pockets way more quickly. The more new technology, the more money is entering and leaving your hands!
The next thing that impacted the economy was media. The entertainment industry began with movies and clubs. In the 1920’s, an extremely popular movie were silent movies. They were movies that had piano and organ music in the background. Movie stars earned large paychecks. Another cool invention is called a Nickelodeon, they were like plain old movie theatres. Want to see a luxury movie? Well go visit a picture palace. In the movies, there were lots of excitement and humor. As a result, human people in the 1920’s thought it was entertainment to go to the movies. Thankfully, we are talking about the 1920s because the evil government made blue laws (in the 1790’s). They are not laws about the color blue. It is laws that you could not go to entertainment, including the movies on Sundays, especially in New Jersey. The churches loved the idea of blue laws and considered Sundays as a Sabbath. Here is a fun fact. Did you know that Walt Disney established his first movie about Mickey Mouse in the 20’s? How did the whole idea of movies affect the economy? Well great question. To go to the movies, you had to pay 25 cents as an admission fee. Millions of people went to see the movies. The price of movie tickets paid the movie theater employees and the movie stars. Citizens went to the movies way more than they do today, the average person went to the movie theater more than once per week. Movies were made for all ages. You did not have to be a certain age to go see a movie and you were never “too old” to see a movie. Movies are for everybody.
In conclusion, Technology shaped the economy by opening more jobs, more money is being spent, and people are moving forward with technological advances. Transportation was changed by the invention of cars and airplanes. Entertainment was changed by adding movie theaters and Jazz singers in clubs. The government earned financial benefits from the inventions of airplanes, automobiles, gasoline, and tire production. Overall, the roaring twenties was a great period of growth and prosperity. These inventions laid the foundation of the technology we have today.
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