Domestic Life in the 1950s Questions and Answers

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What effect did developments in technology have on the American way of life in the 1950s?

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Technologies that had been developed earlier than the 1950s were bottlenecked by the economic collapse of the 1930s and then by World War II, so many technologies first became widespread in the 1950s in the US as the standard of living rose and people could afford to adopt them.

Labor-saving devices such as fully automatic washers became far more prevalent in the 1950s, making life easier for housewives. The widespread use of refrigerators and freezers also eased the burden on housewives, as they did not have to go the market as often to buy perishable food items. Small appliances became more affordable and also reduced the housewife's workload. By the end of the decade, women were increasingly able to leave the home to take on part-time jobs. Women's desires for fuller lives would explode into the woman's movement of the 1960s.

Advances in medical technology meant that, by 1955, people could be vaccinated against polio, getting rid of fear of a dreaded disease. Increased access to...

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