Appendix 23: Two Pivotal Decades: the 1920s and the 1950s

As the 21st century unfolds, it's only natural that we speculate about the last century's impact. Change in all areas abounds, especially during the two pivotal decades: the 1920s and the 1950s.

Both decades followed the economic and social changes and industrial innovation generated by a major war: WW I (1914-1918) and WW II (1939-1945).

The two decades, were, each in their own right, periods of rapid social, economic, industrial change.

Think About These Developments:

1920s 1950s
Urban Electrification Electrification Nationally
Electric Clothes Washers Electric Clothes Dryers
Automobiles, De-tached,
Unheated, Unwired Garage
Attached Two-Car Garages
Production Lines
in Manufacturing Plants
Electronic Components
Dirt Roads Interstate Highway System
Red Scare Cold War
Fractional-Horse Power Motors Small Universal Motors
for Routers
Radio Television
Socket-Driven Electric Tools Wired Workshops
Motors, Pulleys and Line Shafts
Power Several Machines
Electric Motor Powers Each Machine

What else?

Definitely education and scholarship, since I spent my career there, an area with which I am very familiar. Now, while I agree that scholarship of either decade is not entirely relevant to the topic at hand, the history of the amateur woodworking movement, in a way this scholarship is significant: the 1920s saw the flowering of several disciplines, especially sociology, social and cultural history, that are so important today for revealing the formerly hidden aspects of the daily lives of Americans. In the the 1950s, in the wake of WW II, these disciplines matured and flourished to even greater levels.

In Appendix 28, for example, I argue that a parallel exists between the function of the cookbook in the kitchen and the woodworker's manual in the woodshop, to build the case, I depend upon an existing scholarship on cookbooks. In turn, though, this scholarship of cookbooks itself is supported by decades of scholarship on America's cultures. (In the future I want to explore the the concept, "from production to consumption" below.)