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1950s Innovation Still Popular Today

26 July 2013
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The decade of 1950s is marked with some of the major scientific innovations such as the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA and the launch of Space Race. It also happens to be a decade that greatly improved our lives and here are some of the innovations from 1950s that we still use today.

1950s Innovation Still Popular Today

Credit cards (1950) : Though the concept of credit card existed since 1930s, the founders of Diners Club - Ralph Schneider and Frank McNamara - expanded the the idea of customers paying different merchants using the same card in 1950. Mass usage, however, started in 1958 when Bank of America launched the BankAmericard in California.

Diet soda (1952) : It came into existence when Kirsch Bottling launched a sugar-free ginger ale called No-Cal in Brooklyn. It was made for diabetics and not for dieters. Others soon followed with their own producs.In 1958 Royal Crown Cola came up with a diet soda product, Diet Rite. In 1962, Dr Pepper released diet version of its soda. The consumption in the initial years was slow as people perceived it as a drink for diabetics. The mass consumption started when Coca-Cola Company came up with a product called Tab that was originally sweetened with cyclamates and saccharin.

Deodorant Roll (1952) : Before the advent of roll-on deodorant was the most common «Everdry», deodorant based on aluminum chlorohydrate, which was applied with cotton swabs. Aerosol deodorants came much later in 1960s when Gillette launched the Right Guard. They became popular because they could dispense without coming in contact with the users, and soon started replacing the roll-ons.

Colour TV (1953) : Color TV sets appeared in the U.S. in 1953. It took more than a decade that they have gained popularity because they cost expensive, and the transmission of color at that time were few. First color transmission on American television was broadcasting "Parade of Roses" in 1954. According to Wikipedia, in 1964 only 3.1 per cent of television households in the US had colour set. In 1972, for the first time the sale of colour sets crossed over the black and white ones.

TV dinners (1953) : Swanson changed our world when they introduced the first TV dinner back in 1953. They were such a huge success that they ended up selling more than 10 million during the first year of production. Earlier to Swanson’s TV Dinner, William L. Maxson's frozen dinners were being served on airplanes. Also, the first frozen dinners on oven-ready aluminium trays were introduced by Quaker States Foods under the One-Eye Eskimo label, according to Wikipedia. This type of meal was common until the mid-1980s.

Microwave (1954) : When the US-based company Raytheon newly introduced microwave ovens, they were sold for $2,000 - $3,000, which translates to $17,000 to $26,000 in the present time. With time, the size shrunk and so did the cost. It was only in the 1970s that it became a commercial success. The first microwave oven for commercial use provided the corporation Raytheon.

Automatic doors (1954) : Inventors Dee Horton and Lew Hewitt created an automatic sliding door, observing how the existing swing doors were difficult operate during strong wind. They commercialised it through Horton Automatics.

Velcro (1955) : Switzerland-based George de Mestral first conceived the hook-and-loop fastener while returning from a hunting trip in the Alps. He noticed that seeds of burdock kept sticking to his coat and on his dog’s fur. When observed under a microscope, he saw the hundreds of hooks that had caught anything with a loop. After 10 years of trying to commercialise it, Mestral was finally granted a patent in 1955.

Ultrasound (1956) : Obstetrician Ian Donald and engineer Tom Brown developed the first prototype of medical ultrasonography in 1956 in Glasgow. At the same time experiments were being conducted in the US and Sweden to use ultrasound for medical purposes. Hospitals, however, started using the machine in 1970s.

Bubble wrap (1957) : Two inventors - Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes - were attempting to create a 3-dimensional plastic wallpaper. Although the idea was a failure, they found that it did make for great packing material and bubble wrap came into existence.

The three-point seat belt (1959) : The company «Volvo» introduced the first three-point safety belt in 1959, and in the same year made it a standard seat belt in a Volvo 122. Though Volvo developed it, the company kept the new belt design patent open in the interest of safety and made it available to other car manufacturers for free.

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