Friday, November 30, 2012

Flashback Friday - 1940's Christmas

I have a passion for all things "retro" and "vintage." I often feel as though I was born in the wrong era. I love the innocence of the society of yesteryear. Yes, I would not mind being "stuck" at home all day because my husband drove our one family car to work, tending to my household duties. I could always walk to the market, but the milk would be delivered to my door! Wednesdays were wash days and there would always be Little Timmy and Sally's clothes to make and mend and dinner to put on the table each evening. In the forties, I would tend to my Victory Garden or follow in the footsteps of my grandmother, Pearl, and work as a Rosie the Riveter in a factory for the war effort.

The 1940's was an era of great optimism and one of great struggle. The country was coming-out of the Great Depression of the 30's and life for the average American family was on the upswing once again. The rest of the world was at war and all was quiet for the US until December 7, 1941, and Pearl Harbor changed everything. The US was now at war, but with Hollywood keeping everyone's spirits up while the boys were away to win the war, some pretty exciting things happened.

I will refrain from giving you a World War 2 history lesson and focus instead on the lighter side of life in the 1940's. Big Band music was all the rage on the radio. Rosemary Clooney, the Andrew's Sisters, Count Basie, Artie Shaw and Dizzy Gillespie were popular songsters. On the silver screen, that was oh so glamorous in the forties, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart and Bing Crosby were the male leads. For the females, Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Betty Grable, Jane Russell, Lauren Bacall and Ava Gardner became legendary icons.

The 1940's saw the first computer invented. Colossus was it's name. The first transistor and the nuclear bomb were invented. Chuck Yeager was the first to break the sound barrier and Supersonic flight was born.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President for the first half of the forties, until his death in 1945. FDR was followed by Harry Truman until 1949.

1940's Facts

Minimum wage - $.43 an hour
New house in 1940 - $3920.00   and in 1949 - $7450.00
Average income in 1940 - $1725.00 and in 1949 - $2950.00
Gallon of gas in 1940 - $.11 and in 1949 - $.17
New car in 1940 - $850.00 and in 1949 - $1420.00
$100.00 in 1940 would be the equivalent of $1433.77 today


Now for 1940's Christmas toy fun!

1941 - FAO Schwartz Toy Store opens in New York City

1942 - Little Golden Books are printed
1943 - Chutes and Ladders is the new game
1945 - Slinky is first sold
1948 - year Scrabble was invented
1949 - Silly Putty and Candy Land were popular Christmas toys

The most popular toys for the forties were also the Red Ryder BB rifle, Erector sets, electric train sets, enameled metal trucks and cars, metal pedal cars, WWII model airplane sets, farmyard sets, Parcheesi, Tiddlywinks and Radio Flyer wagons.

Happy Friday!



  1. Absolutely love this!!

  2. Really cool! I found your blog while looking for an image for my latest post. Wish I could step back into those days for a bit.

  3. Thank you for posting! Was looking for Christmas 1940s pictures and love your stats too!!!!! Just beautiful pictures! Love this era too and love the home decor of this era!!! Thanks again!