Developments: 1900-1920

An advertisement for a pneumatic vacuum cleaner, ca. 1910. Source: The Regina Company – The National Geographic Magazine

The zipper and vacuum cleaner become realities. Freud publishes Interpretation of Dreams (1900). The Wright Brothers make the world’s first powered flight in 1903. The Great White Fleet, a flotilla of sixteen U.S. warships, embarks on a cruise around the world to demonstrate American naval power. Wireless telegraph transmits speech. Einstein publishes the Special Theory of Relativity in 1905 and the General Theory of Relativity in 1915. People buy comet pills to protect them against the return of Halley’s Comet. The New York City Board of Education votes to give free eyeglasses to needy students. Englewood High School establishes a school lunchroom, the first in the city. Babe Ruth wins two World Series games for Boston and sets the record for home runs at fifty-four in one season. The FBI comes into being. Henry Ford introduces the Model T, signaling the Automobile Age. Congress passes child labor laws. Fingerprinting in crime detection becomes widespread. People enjoy peppermint lifesavers. The Titanic sinks. L. L. Bean produces its rubber-soled hunting shoe. New York State law forbids the representation of Jesus Christ on stage. The New York City School Board bans Christmas carols from city schools in an attempt to eliminate sectarianism. The Indiana Legislature passes the first compulsory sterilization law in the world. Progressives support these measures to “reform” society. The Central Powers sign the armistice that ends World War I in 1918. Circulation of Sears’ general catalogue increases to three million. The National Education Association condemns the deteriorating behavior of students.














































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