In our modern society there are certain items that just seem to have always existed. Certain ordinary staples like M & M’s, the game Scrabble and even bikinis are a few things that came about in the 1940’s. There are many well known brands of food that came about because of certain 1940’s events.
1940’s Food and Game Inventions
M & M’s were first made in 1942 for American soldiers in WWII. Since M & M’s do not melt easily, they were ideal for withstanding the various climates a soldier might be in. Another basic food that became popular in the 1940’s is the corn dog. They are thought to have been around since the 1920’s, but were wide spread and perfected in the 1940’s. A few other well known brands that came about in this era are Nutella, Rice Krispy Treats and Cheerios. Nutella was made in the 1940’s due to WWII.
There was a shortage of cocoa because of the war, so pairing it with the plentiful supply of hazelnuts was a way to extend the use of chocolate. The Rice Krispies Treats we know today were introduced in 1941 using Rice Krispies cereal. Cheerios were unveiled in 1941 and were the first ready to eat oat cereal called Cheerioats, later changed to Cheerios in 1945. These are just a few of the fun food items that came from the 1940’s. There were also some new developments in leisure.
Scrabble was first thought up during the Great Depression, but was not trademarked until 1948. In 1949, there was 2,400 games made and the owners lost $450. However, they did not give up and it has grown to what it is today. Another great source of entertainment thanks to the 1940’s is the Slinky. It was accidentally invented in 1943 by an engineer experimenting with springs to help stabilize instruments on ships for WWII. In 1945 it was first presented and 450 Slinky’s were sold in 90 minutes. Silly Putty was also accidentally invented because of WWII. There was a shortage of rubber and engineers were asked to find a similar substitute. In 1943 an engineer at GE was searching for this substitute. By experimentation he used boric acid and silicone oil to which a material was made that was not necessarily practical, but had fun properties. You can still buy many vintage games– great for fun and home decor.
From food to entertainment, the 1940’s also had a large impact on clothing.
1940s Fashion Inventions
WWII changed every aspect of life, including fashion. Clothes were kept simple and lacked decoration. The types of fabric used were practical and the amount restricted. Therefore, 1940’s dresses and skirts were straighter and not overly full. After the war, a high fashion designer debuted in 1947. Christian Dior designed the “New Look.” He did the opposite of the 1940’s style by using a lot of fabric for skirts and luxurious silks, taffetas and wools. His creation led to the classic 1950’s look of a large, longer skirt and a fitted shirt. The 1950s also went completely opposite of the forties with a tight fitted sheath dress.
Some other new clothing styles from the 1940’s were bikinis and believe it or not pants for women. In 1946 the bikini was created. It was a bit to revealing for the times, so it was not worn often and became popular in the 1950’s. Another large change to fashion was women wearing pants. Many ladies had to work in factories in the 1940’s because of the war. Pants soon became a sensible item to wear for work, instead of skirts or dresses. This was quite a leap for society in the 1940’s, yet it seems so normal for today.
It is hard to imagine that there was a time when these basic items were not available. Since they are only 70 to 60 years old, there are still many people who remember when a particular item was first introduced. The 1940’s may seem like a different world compared to modern society. However, it created some important and fun items that we use and need every day.