The decade from 1900 to 1910, the first decade of the twentieth century, was an important one in both American and world history. There was a lot going on. From new technological creations to cultural shifts, your ancestors were living through a busy and innovative time in history. These are some of the highlights of the 1900s, to give you an idea of the things your ancestors may have been doing and enjoying.
Mass Production of the Automobile
The automobile was invented in the 1890s, but it was only a curiosity (what today we would call a “gadget”) that rich people would buy to impress their friends. It was not until the 1900s that the automobile began to be mass-produced for the average American public. More dirt roads began to be paved to accommodate these automobiles, thus changing the way America looked, as well as the way it traveled on the continent.
The Invention of the Typewriter
We are so used to typing on computer keyboards every day today that it seems like second nature. It is amazing to know that this kind of writing was not invented until the 1900s when the first typewriter became available for sale to the American public. Naturally, we have come a long way since the days of those early, bulky typewriters that left no room to make writing mistakes. But, it all began there, and your ancestors may have been some of the first people to use this revolutionary invention.
The Invention of Controlled Flight
Airplanes are a common means of transportation today, but it was not until 1903 that controlled flight for sustained periods of time was invented by the famous Wright Brothers. While their first flight only lasted twelve seconds, it was flight, and it was controlled. It provided the blueprint for all of the airplanes and other kinds of aircraft that came after it. Your ancestors probably read about this first flight in their local newspapers, and may even have been involved in helping to build some of the early models. At the very least, they probably celebrated this wonderful new step for mankind.
The First Radio Broadcast
Entertainment sent out to a mass audience over a scattered geographical area began in the 1900s, as well. Reginald Fessenden, who was from East Bolton in Quebec, Canada, sent the first radio broadcast of music and other entertainment to a general audience in this decade. All the radio programs that came after it, and even broadcast television, began with this first broadcast.
The First Major Motion Picture Success
While film and movies had been invented in the previous decade, the first movie to achieve major motion picture success with a wide audience in America was called The Great Train Robbery, which was released in 1903. The first feature film in the world was released not long after, in 1906 in Melbourne, Australia, and was called The Story of the Kelly Gang. The age of motion pictures and Hollywood began in this decade, changing the world in an important way.