30 Noteworthy Inventions from the 1950s

30 Noteworthy Inventions from the 1950s

The 1950s are often thought of as a post-WWII settling in time, when Americans sort of breathed a large collective sigh of relief and normalcy and got comfortable in their slower suburban lives. But that certainly doesn’t mean it wasn’t also an era of major innovations on the scientific and technological fronts. It was.

To prove the point, here are 30 influential, important, enduring, and otherwise iconic things that were invented during the 1950s. They’re listed in indisputable order of importance, from most important to least. Or possibly randomly. You decide.

30 Things Invented in the 1950s

  1. Mr. Potato Head
  1. The first true credit card, accepted by multiple merchants, the Diners Club card
  1. Transistor radios
  1. Correction fluid, the first brand being Mistake-Out, which was changed to Liquid Paper; and, for a fascinating cultural-historical note, it was invented by Bettie Nesmith Graham, mother of Michael Nesmith, singer/guitarist for The Monkees
  1. Color television broadcasting
  1. Nonstick cookware (Teflon)
  1. Superglue, the first brand being Eastman #910
  1. Power steering for passenger cars, first available on the 1951 Chrysler Imperial
  1. Barbie
  1. Home-use microwave ovens, in name at least; they were actually too big and too expensive ($1,300 in 1955—or more than $11,600 today!) for such use
  1. Fortran, the computer programming language
  1. The video tape recorder
  1. Velcro
  1. The heart-lung machine used for cardiopulmonary bypass
  1. Bar codes
  1. A programmable music synthesizer, RCA’s Mark II Sound Synthesizer
  1. The polio vaccine
  1. Diet soda, the first being a sugar-free ginger ale called No-Cal
  1. The hydrogen bomb
  1. Oral contraceptives, aka the pill (though they weren’t approved for use until 1960)
  1. Solar cells, knows as solar batteries at the time
  1. Computer hard disks
  1. An implantable artificial pacemaker
  1. Hula hoops
  1. Lasers
  1. A television remote control, called Lazy Bones, that required plugging into the TV set was invented in 1950
  1. Then the first wireless television remote control, the Flashmatic, came along in 1955
  1. Commercially available computers
  1. Instant iced tea, the first brand being White Rose Redi-Tea, a powdered form
  1. Color kitchen appliances, introduced by General Electric

Sign up now!

Love the mid-century era? Subscribe to get our original content celebrating the times in a monthly email!


Leonard Riforgiato is a successful furniture manufacturing entrepreneur, a Miami resident, and co-owner of legacy furniture company Heywood-Wakefield.

Magazine Categories

Sign up now!

Receive our latest content delivered to your inbox monthly

Solid wood furniture from
responsibly sourced lumber.
100% American-made.

Orlando Web Design by CREATE180 Design