Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

What Surprising Inventions Emerged in the Roaring 20s?

Discover the quirky creations that defined the roaring 20s!

What Surprising Inventions Emerged in the Roaring 20s?

What was Invented in the 1920s


The 1920s were a time of incredible innovation and creativity. With the end of World War I and the beginning of a new decade, people were ready for change. This was the era of the flappers, jazz, and prohibition, but it was also a time of great technological advancement. Many important inventions were developed during this period that transformed industries and revolutionized society.


One of the most significant inventions of the 1920s was the radio. This groundbreaking technology allowed people to hear live music, news, and entertainment in their homes for the first time. Radio receivers were affordable, easy to use, and quickly became a fixture in households across America. By the mid-1920s, radio broadcasting had become a national phenomenon, with stations popping up in every major city. This new form of communication brought people together and created a shared cultural experience.

The radio also had a profound impact on the world of sports. The first radio broadcast of a baseball game took place in 1921, and by the end of the decade, millions of listeners were tuning in to hear their favorite teams play. Football, boxing, and horse racing were also popular events that were broadcast over the airwaves. These broadcasts helped to popularize sports and turned athletes into celebrities.


The invention of television, while not widely available until after the 1920s, was first demonstrated in 1927. This new technology would eventually transform entertainment and revolutionize the way people received news and information.

The development of television began in the early 1900s, but it wasn't until the 1920s that scientists made significant breakthroughs in image transmission. By 1926, John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor, had created the first working television system. It wasn't until the 1930s that television sets became widely available, but the groundwork for this new medium had been laid in the 1920s.


While not a technological invention, penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming. This antibiotic revolutionized medicine and saved countless lives. Before the discovery of antibiotics, bacterial infections were a major cause of death. Penicillin was the first effective treatment for these infections and was hailed as a medical miracle.

During World War II, penicillin was used to treat soldiers wounded on the battlefield. The drug's success sparked a new era of antibiotic research and development, leading to the creation of many other life-saving medications.


The automobile industry had been around for several decades before the 1920s, but this was the decade when cars really took off. New manufacturing techniques such as assembly lines and mass production made automobiles more affordable, and improved roadways made travel easier.

In 1927, Henry Ford introduced the Model A, which became an instant hit with consumers. This vehicle was more advanced than the previous Model T, featuring better handling, more horsepower, and a more comfortable ride. The Model A sold over 3 million units in its first two years on the market and set a new standard for automotive excellence.


The 1920s were a time of incredible invention and innovation. The radio, television, penicillin, and automobiles all had a profound impact on society and transformed the way people lived their lives. These advancements laid the groundwork for future breakthroughs in technology and medicine and changed the course of history forever.

Keys were first invented by the ancient Greeks and Romans for locks and chests (PILLAR article)

Transportation Inventions

The 1920s were a decade of great innovation, with many technological advancements that shaped the modern world. Among the most influential inventions were those related to transportation. From automobiles to airplanes, the world was introduced to new modes of travel that forever altered the way people move from place to place.

The Automobile

The automobile industry saw significant strides during the 1920s, with a plethora of companies producing affordable cars that could be bought by the middle class. Thanks to the pioneering work of Henry Ford and his Model-T, the automobile became increasingly accessible to ordinary citizens, a feat that had been previously unavailable. The era marked an important turning point in history as the car became mass-produced, and the assembly line production method streamlined the manufacturing process, thus reducing the cost of vehicles. This made it possible for individuals to travel further and faster than ever before, increasing both personal freedom and accessibility of employment opportunities. Additionally, innovations like automatic transmissions and hydraulic brakes resulted in safer and more efficient cars that laid the foundation for many future advancements in the industry.

The Airplane

The 1920s was also a decade of considerable progress in the aviation industry. The first passenger airline services were established, making air travel possible for commercial and recreational purposes. Pioneers like Charles Lindbergh, who made the first solo transatlantic flight across the Atlantic Ocean, inspired the aviation industry, resulting in increased investment and innovations in airplane designs. The development of paved runways, weather forecasting, and radio communication further advanced the safety, efficiency, and reliability of commercial flights. In time, air travel grew to become an integral aspect of modern society as it made reaching distant locations faster and more comfortable than ever before, as well as the cornerstone for global commerce and trade.

The Radio

The impact of the radio during the 1920s was groundbreaking. Radio broadcasting introduced a new era of mass communication and connected people across the nation and the world. Previously, the telegraph and telephone were the primary methods of rapid communication. The advent of radio broadcasting not only enabled people to listen to news and current events from their homes, but it also led to the birth of new industries, such as radio programming and advertising. The widespread popularity of radio classics like "Amos 'n' Andy" and "my little Margie" shows the enduring influence of this period on modern entertainment. For instance, Radio comedy sitcoms still stand as a major part of television scriptwriting in the present day.

The transportation inventions of the 1920s reshaped the world in ways not only social but also economic. Still today, these technologies are continuously being improved upon and lead to many more advancements that will change the world as we know it.

Video recording was invented before television in the late 1800s

Household and Personal Inventions

The 1920s was a decade of great innovation and change in the United States. New inventions were being developed and introduced all the time, and many of these innovations would go on to shape the rest of the 20th century. In the household and personal realm, there were some key inventions that transformed the way people lived their daily lives. Here are three of the most significant household and personal inventions of the 1920s:

The Refrigerator

The refrigerator is one of the most essential household appliances, but it wasn't always a common fixture in American homes. The refrigerator as we know it today was first introduced in the 1920s, and it revolutionized the way people stored and preserved food.

Before refrigeration, households would typically have an "icebox," which was essentially a wooden cabinet that held a large block of ice. The ice would need to be replenished regularly, which was expensive and time-consuming. Food didn't stay fresh for very long, and households had to plan their meals around what would go bad the quickest.

The introduction of the refrigerator made it possible to keep food fresh for longer periods of time, allowing for greater flexibility in meal planning. It also had a ripple effect on the food industry, as there was now an increased demand for perishable goods. New industries, such as the frozen food industry, emerged as a result.

The Washing Machine

Doing laundry was once a time-consuming, physically demanding task that required a lot of manual labor. The introduction of the washing machine in the 1920s was a game-changer that made laundry day significantly easier.

Early washing machines were simple contraptions that consisted of a drum that rotated back and forth. The operator would need to manually fill the machine with water, add soap, and then operate a lever to agitate the clothes. While this was certainly a step up from hand-washing, it was still a far cry from modern washing machines.

By the end of the decade, fully automatic washing machines had been developed that could wash, rinse, and spin-dry clothes without any intervention from the operator. This was a huge advance that freed up time and energy for other activities.

The invention of the washing machine also had a profound impact on the appliance industry. Manufacturers like Whirlpool, General Electric, and Maytag emerged as leaders in the space, and new innovations like dryers and dishwashers soon followed.

The Band-Aid

The Band-Aid is one of those inventions that seems so simple and obvious that it's hard to imagine a time when it didn't exist. Yet, prior to the 1920s, there was no such thing as a convenient, self-adhesive bandage.

The Band-Aid was invented by Earle Dickson, an employee of Johnson & Johnson, in 1920. Dickson's wife was prone to cutting herself in the kitchen, and he wanted to create a way for her to quickly and easily dress her own wounds. The result was the Band-Aid, a small adhesive strip that had a gauze pad in the center.

At first, the Band-Aid was not a commercial success. It was seen as a novelty product that few people had any use for. However, during World War II, Band-Aids became an essential part of first-aid kits issued to soldiers. This helped to familiarize the public with the product, and it soon became a household essential.

Today, the Band-Aid is still an incredibly popular product that can be found in just about every home, school, and workplace. It's a testament to the power of simple, practical innovation.

John Froelich invented the first gasoline-powered tractor in 1892

Entertainment Inventions

The 1920s was a decade of great social and technological change, which led to the development of many inventions that transformed the entertainment industry. In this section, we will explore some of the most iconic entertainment inventions of the 1920s.

Talking Films

The invention of synchronized sound film in 1927 was a game-changer for the movie industry. Prior to this, films were silent, and the only sounds that accompanied them were live music played in the theater. With the introduction of sound films, actors could now speak and sing, and sound technicians could add sound effects to enhance the viewing experience.

The first talking film that became a commercial success was "The Jazz Singer" starring Al Jolson. It was released in 1927 and became an instant hit in theaters across the United States. Other studios soon followed suit and began producing talking films, while many silent film stars struggled to adapt to the new medium. By the end of the 1920s, nearly all movie studios had transitioned to producing sound films, marking the end of the silent film era.

The Television

While the concept of television was not invented in the 1920s, it was during this decade that the groundwork was laid for the television industry that would emerge in the following decades. The first experimental television broadcasts began in the late 1920s, utilizing mechanical television technology that involved spinning discs to create a moving image.

One of the pioneers of broadcast television was John Logie Baird, who demonstrated the first public television transmission in 1926. However, it was not until the 1930s and 1940s that electronic television technology became widespread and accessible to the masses. By the 1950s, television had become a staple of American homes, changing the way people consumed entertainment and news.

The Jukebox

In the 1920s, the jukebox became a popular form of entertainment, allowing people to listen to music in public places such as bars and restaurants. The first jukeboxes were simple machines that played songs from wax cylinders or disc records, and customers would need to insert a coin in order to play a song.

The term "jukebox" is thought to have originated from African-American slang, referring to a rowdy establishment where people gathered to dance and drink. The jukebox soon became a fixture of these establishments, and the popularity of this invention continued to grow throughout the 1920s and beyond.

Radio Broadcasting

Although the concept of radio broadcasting was developed in the late 19th century, it was during the 1920s that it became a popular form of entertainment that revolutionized the way people consumed news, music, and other forms of programming. The first commercial radio station, KDKA, began broadcasting in Pittsburgh in 1920, and within a few years, hundreds of radio stations had sprung up across the United States.

Radio programming in the 1920s consisted of news broadcasts, music performances, and variety shows. One of the most popular radio shows of the decade was "Amos 'n' Andy," a comedy series that featured African-American characters voiced by white actors. The show was controversial for its racial stereotypes, but it was also a huge commercial success.

Overall, radio broadcasting helped to create a shared culture across the country and paved the way for the development of television in the following decades.


The 1920s was a decade of incredible innovation in the field of entertainment. From sound films and television to jukeboxes and radio broadcasting, the way people consumed entertainment was forever changed during this time. These inventions helped to create a new culture of mass entertainment that would continue to evolve and shape the world of entertainment in the decades to come.

Medical Inventions

The 1920s was a decade of significant advancements in various fields. When it comes to medicine, this period has marked numerous breakthroughs, including the discovery of insulin and penicillin, the development of x-ray tubes, and more. Here's a closer look at some of the most crucial medical inventions of the 1920s:


Diabetes, a condition characterized by abnormally high blood sugar levels, was often a death sentence before the discovery of insulin. However, in 1921, Canadian scientists Frederick Banting and Charles Best made a game-changing discovery by isolating and extracting insulin from the pancreas of animals.

While insulin was not a cure for diabetes, it allowed individuals with the condition to manage their blood sugar levels, significantly increasing their lifespan and overall quality of life. Insulin therapy spread quickly and is now a cornerstone of diabetes management worldwide.


Another significant medical breakthrough of the 1920s was the discovery of penicillin. In 1928, Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming observed that a mold called Penicillium notatum produced a substance that could kill bacteria. This discovery was initially deemed insignificant, but its true importance became clear in the 1940s with the development of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections.

Penicillin and other antibiotics that followed saved millions of lives. They made formerly fatal infections curable with a course of medicine and significantly reduced mortality rates for patients with bacterial diseases.

X-Ray Tubes

The development of x-ray technology was already underway in the early 1900s, but it was not until the 1920s that x-ray tubes became advanced enough to produce accurate internal imaging. These tubes produce a highly focused beam of electrons that strike a metal target, producing x-rays that can penetrate and create images of internal structures.

In medicine, x-ray tubes allowed for safer and less intrusive diagnoses, especially for conditions involving bones. The technology proved particularly groundbreaking in orthopedics, where it allowed for more precise examination and treatment of fractures, joint abnormalities, and other bone-related issues.

Overall, the medical inventions of the 1920s were foundational to modern medicine and continue to play a vital role in healthcare to this day. Innovations like insulin, penicillin, and x-ray tubes have transformed medical practice and saved countless lives.

Related Video: What Surprising Inventions Emerged in the Roaring 20s?

Post a Comment for "What Surprising Inventions Emerged in the Roaring 20s?"