Saturday, February 24, 2018

Vintage 1950s Homes

1950s Master Bedroom

          In post-WWII USA the housing market boomed as soldiers returned from war and got married. No longer were young married couples living with their parents. They wanted their own homes which created a demand for home furnishings. The economic rise of the 1950’s allowed couples to afford some luxury in their home and emphasis was placed on family life.

          The California-style ranch homes were built in 1955 and had a larger master bedroom than what was often found in earlier homes.

          Several things prompted rooms to get larger. The widespread use of central heating for one. Prior to 1950 master bedrooms were smaller than they are today. People worked and had to be very wealthy to have leisure time. But the introduction of the 40-hour work week allowed for time to relax. Homes became more than shelter and began to be a place to enjoy family and relax. Hence the master bedroom was no longer a place to just sleep but a place for the owners to enjoy with their family. Master bedroom sizes began to increase because of a stronger middle class.

TV's Portrayal of Master bedrooms

          Before the 1950s bedrooms for married couples had twin beds pushed apart. During the first two seasons of the revolutionary television show I Love Lucy (1951-1960), Lucy and Ricky Ricardo slept on twin beds pushed together, but after they had little Ricky, CBS may have insisted the beds be pushed apart perhaps to downplay their sexual relationship. A few years later, Ozzie and Harriet (1952-1966), Bewitched (1964-1972), Green Acres (1965-1971), depicted double beds. Since then Double, Queen, King and Western King have not been an issue on TV or in the theater.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Vintage 1950s Cars

Volkswagen Beetle

The Volkswagen Beetle – officially the Volkswagen Type 1, is a two-door, four passenger, rear-engine economy car manufactured and marketed by German automaker Volkswagen (VW) from 1938 until 2003.
          The need for this kind of car and its functional objectives was formulated by Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap, simple car to be mass-produced for his country's new road network. Hitler contracted Ferdinand Porsche in 1934 to design and build it. Porsche and his team took until 1938 to finalize the design.

          Although designed in the 1930s, the Beetle was only produced in significant numbers from 1945 on (mass production had been put on hold during the Second World War).
          From 1950 to 1959, changes were made throughout the vehicle beginning with hydraulic brakes and a folding fabric sunroof in 1950. The rear window of the VW Beetle evolved from a divided or "split" oval to a singular oval.

          In 1953 models received a redesigned instrument panel. The one-piece “Pope's Nose” combination license plate/brake light was replaced with a smaller flat-bottomed license plate light. The brake light function was transferred to new heart-shaped lamps located in the top of the taillight housings. 

          In 1955, the separate brake lights were discontinued and were combined into a new larger taillight housing. The traditional VW semaphore turn signals were replaced by conventional flashing.

          In 1956, the Beetle received a set of twin chrome tailpipes. Models for North America gained taller bumper guards and tubular override bars.

          In 1958, the Beetle received a revised instrument panel, and a larger rectangular rear window replaced the previous oval design.
          The Volkswagen had many names. In the US the VW had many names, "Beetle" "Super Beetle" "Bug" and "Superbug".
In Germany the K√§fer "beetle" and in France the Coccinelle "ladybug" to name a few.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Vintage 1950s Food

Instead of chicken soup, this was the staple in my house for when we got sick. Our neighbor gave this recipe to my mother when she was a new mother and she was sick. Since it worked, she made tons of it at the beginning of winter (in New York) and froze it in individual servings. I still make it today for a cold winter night with cornbread.

Split Pea Soup
1 c dried green split peas                         1-1/2 quarts water
Beef knuckle, cracked or ham bone       1 bay leaf
1 No. 2 can (2-1/2 c) tomatoes               1 t salt
1 med. onion, peeled and chopped                 dash pepper

Wash and pick over peas. Add remaining ingredients. Cover, simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If the soup thickens too much, add additional boiling water. Remove bone. Press soup through a sieve. Serve hot with croutons. makes 6 servings.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Vintage 1950s Toys

Hula Hoop
          The modern Hula Hoop was invented in 1958 by Arthur K. "Spud" Melin and Richard Knerr. Children and adults around the world have played with hoops, twirling, rolling and throwing them. Traditional materials for hoops include willow, rattan (a flexible and strong vine), grapevines and stiff grasses. Today, they are usually made of plastic tubing, Marlex.

          Native American Hoop Dance is a form of storytelling dance incorporating anywhere from one to thirty hoops as props. These hoops are used to create both static and dynamic shapes, which represent various animals, symbols, and storytelling elements. The dance is generally performed by a solo dancer with multiple hoops. It is said that the name "hula" came from the Hawaiian dance in the 18th century, due to the similar hip movements.
Wham-O was the manufacturers and distributors.

Tid Bit- In the last season of M*A*S*H there is an episode called "Who Knew?" where Sergeant Klinger sees kids playing with barrel rings and fashions a hula hoop-like toy made of metal tubing. He then tries to get Major Winchester to fund putting them into production but is unable to because the major thinks they are silly because he was laughed at while trying to play with one. If he only knew!