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Great Inventions in the 20s Of the Previous Century


America in her “roaring twenties” can boast about a lot of new developments and inventions that overwhelmed the world. If you were told at your class to prepare a presentation about the greatest inventions of the previous century, namely of the 20s, start preparing to read for long as these years were exploding for new things, tools and devices.

Those years Americans experienced the best development of their country which rushed over their heads and could comfort their life in just a blink of an eye! This period is mostly marked as a new age of American technological sphere which is to be depicted today in a chronological order.

The Rise of America’s Technologies

So, what was that trigger that induced America to have new inventions? As we might know, since the end of the World War I people experienced the boom of the consumer-goods industry and Americans were trying to return to their ordinary way of life. So, here they are, some of the most genial inventions the world is still using nowadays.

Traffic Lights

Do not take us wrong, first models of traffic signals were invented long before even the automobiles were invented, namely in the early 19th century. However, the first semaphore that had more than ordinary two lights (red and green) has been invented by William Potts, a police officer of Detroit in 1920. The “new” yellow light was considered to indicate a “caution” meaning and stayed there till today. Who knows, maybe one day we will add another color?

Band-Aid (1920)

Brand Adhesive Bandages as an official name were invented by a simple need (as almost everything in this world to be honest) by a married couple Josephine and Earle Dickson. Josephine has been suffering from cuts and minor injuries when decided to put some hand-made bandages, one side of which was sterilized. It underwent just a few changes and has been widespread throughout the world as it gained popularity with its simplicity. Genial is simple.

Here Comes a Philosophy of Lie: Lie Detector

Person Lies

Even though earlier tries were made already in 1902 by James Mackenzie which were quite successful, the first lie detector as we know it today has been invented by a medical student of Californian University named John Larson in 1921. The mechanism has another name which is a polygraph, that comes from its ability to record various body responses simultaneously.

The activity is measured medically: sensors attached to a human body record the minor changes in breathing, pulse, blood pressure and perspiration of a person during the questioning and gives out the data for interpretation.

We can still argue a lot whether this detector is working on our use or just distracts us from the real cases of truth-lie discrepancy, however, with its help we have managed to come a bit closer to a human psychology of lying.

Convertible (1922)

The function we can freely enjoy nowadays has been thoroughly designed and developed with the help of the first retractable hardtop system by Ellerbeck. Afterwards we could see this sensation in all possible movies and romantic scenes. This was an undoubtful success. Later on, in 1934 the first power-operated hardtop was constructed by Peugeot. And the technology still continues to hone itself.


Who needs such an efficient and cool machine? Farmers, of course. Therefore, invented by a farmer and a draftsman in 1923, this mechanism has made a great contribution into the construction process of digging and providing the toughest work for people.

An interesting fact: despite the common habit to define a bulldozer as a whole digging machine, this name refers only to a shovel-like blade but not a tractor.

Instant Camera

Samuel Shlafrock is said to have developed the first device which included a camera alone and a portable darkroom as a whole in 1923. This is a very arguable statement and some claim that is did not take place at that time, but we still name him as an inventor of the first instant camera also known as polaroid.


The first experiment as a variation of a hamburger topped with cheese is claimed to have appeared in several places simultaneously. We will not refer it some defined person or a company and leave the date of its invention somewhere between the late-1920s to mid-1930s, saying just that it was definitely worth being invented.

Gas Chamber

The most we know about gas chambers is what happened during the World War II when those were a tool for mortifying people by Nazis in concentration camps. However, not everyone knows that those were first built in 1924 in the United States and were legal in three (!) states. That was another method of execution of prisoners and soon has been spread to Nazi Germany and is said to being used in North Korea as well.



For this time, not a single person but a whole Automatic Music Instrument Company has designed and constructed a music machine in 1927, automatically playing music when the coin where put inside.

The most interesting and kind of sad fact is that this machine gained its popularity during the period of depression from 1929 till 1933 and had a phenomenal success. Some antique machines are still being used in cafes to add some magic atmosphere of the previous century.

Bubble Gum (1928)

Known among every child and adult, the famous entertainment when chewing a gum is to blow bubbles from it and this joy has been invented in 1928 by an accountant of the Fleer Chewing Gum Company Walter Diemer and soon became a sensation. As he explained his own success as “It was an accident” we may be totally sure thatthe best inventions really come out from a coincidence.

Penicillin (1928)

Not mentioning this medicament would be a total failure from our side as this invention has opened a new page in the history of medicine. This antibiotic first used by a scientist Alexander Fleming and was not recognized by the notables of that time but soon proved to take a great role of killing harmful bacteria and have lots of different therapeutic benefits.

And, as every incredible innovation in this world, it has been invented by accident, on the dirty dishes Fleming has left when went for a holiday and returned in a few days to see what we call a new age of antibiotics.

In conclusion, we can clearly observe that our world still develops and changes throughout its history. The scoops of this time period will be a good mention for future generations who will hopefully be even smarter than us and create even more amazing devices and tools to make human life convenient and pleasurable.

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