How long is a decade? Long enough to come up with these amazing inventions!

From the roaring 20s to the rock and roll era, each decade has a story to tell! Even though each decade lasted a mere 10 years, the 20th century was a very busy time in which humankind made progressive and radical achievements. Every decade marked the dawn of new developments in the world of technology. Electricity changed the way people lived and worked, and commodities such as vacuum cleaners and washing machines graced the homes of the middle-class.

By the time the roaring 20s came along, the telephone was hot, and millions of homes became connected in a way they never thought possible. News travels fast – and so did radio and broadcast technology which made it possible for rock and roll hits like Hound Dog by Elvis Presley to get everyone swinging. From quirky new inventions to pop-culture trends – here are some inventions that made waves in the 20th Century.

The 1910s was a decade of teabags, cellophane and instant coffee!

The first type of plastic, called polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride or Bakelite for short, was a revolutionary heat-resistant plastic used for radio and phone casings, kitchenware, jewelry, toys and firearms. Look at the pretty colors it came in!

The roaring 1920s gave us something to roar about…

While we may know the roaring 20s for being the era which marked significant changes in transportation, technology, music, and fashion – the bathing suit served multifunctional purposes. People enjoyed making a fashion statement while getting a suntan more so than actually swimming in the water, which is why the women’s swimming suit became a performance piece. The invention of rayon allowed manufacturers to produce tight-fitting swimsuits, and with Burlesque and vaudeville performers hitting the stages, the bathing suit made its own statement in the fashion industry.

The 1930s – the decade of “Wonder Bread”

Is there anything better than sliced bread? The answer is still a firm, “No”! When the first bread slicing machine was invented in the roaring 20s in the USA, it wasn’t until the 1930s that the Continental Baking Co. first started to market their sliced bread as “Wonder Bread.” The baking factory produced a much softer loaf that everyone went crazy over because each slice was exactly the same. According to sources, the company did considerable research in determining the right shape and size, only to conclude that a slice, a little less than half an inch, was indeed perfect.

The 1940s gave rise to the “Slinky”

What’s there not to love about the slinky? Invented early in the decade, this unusual toy was seen to perform a number of tricks, including going down flights of stairs while reinventing itself with the aid of gravity. Its creator, Richard James, was a naval engineer who was developing a way to stabilize sensitive instruments aboard ships, but when he accidentally dropped a pile of springs on the floor and watched it bounce around the room in awe, his wife Betty coined it “slinky” after children in the neighborhood expressed interest in it. It’s still a hit today!

The 1950s was a decade of rock and roll and some weird inventions!

Believe it or not, Shutter Shades, made popular by Kayne West in his music video “Stronger” were actually an invention of the 1950s! They have no practical use, and they certainly don’t provide you with protection against UV rays – so what purpose do they actually serve? None, whatsoever! Let’s all agree that they are a completely pointless fashion accessory!

1960s – the decade of rock and roll and revolution!

Many of us know the 1960s as the era that revolutionized society and culture, but did you know that it is also the decade in which a popular icon was born? Yes, the smiley face logo came about in 1963. A man named Harvey Ross Ball was hired by an insurance company to boost employee morale, so he drew up a smiley face on a piece of yellow paper and was paid $45 for his work. The company plastered it all over posters, buttons and t-shirts and it didn’t take long before it became a popular symbol for generations to come.

1970s – the decade of disco and technological innovation!

Don’t get scared now, but this was one of the first cell phones and it was invented in 1973! The phone does not share many similarities with the phones of today, not only because it weighed two-and-a-half pounds and was over a foot in length, but because it took ten hours to charge! Who has that kind of time between calls?

1980s – the decade of medical breakthroughs!

This is not the plot of a science fiction movie, but a real-life story of a man who invented an artificial human heart in 1982. That’s right, Dr. Robert Jarvik implanted an artificial heart, named the Jarvik 7, into Barney Clark, a dentist who volunteered for the surgery. The surgery was a success, and the implantation of artificial hearts went on to help extend the lives of many patients.

1990s – Before the internet, there were Tamagotchis!

Were you responsible for the deaths of pixelated monsters called Tamagotchis back in the 1990s? If so, don’t feel too guilty, those little beasts were created to teach children some important things about life, like how to be responsible pet owners who don’t forget to feed their pets. If you did forget, the unfortunate fellows grew wings and went to a better place.

2000s – the decade of globalization and the robot age!

Are you a fan of the jet-blasting fan that takes your hands off while drying? These little guys have been saving paper for nearly two decades, and even though they came as a surprise to most of us, they revolutionized the way we kill germs. In under 10 seconds, they blast away invisible bacteria that live in the crevices of our soaking wet hands. Sure, they’re loud and annoying but they’re saving the forests as we speak.