• MA Senft

1947 Current Events & Popular Items

Shadows of December: Illusions of Time starts its story in 1947. To give you a better idea of what was life in 1947, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the current events and popular items of the time period…

1947 Major News Stories

Roswell UFO Incident

On July 7, 1947, an unknown object crashed in the general vicinity of Roswell, New Mexico, initially reported as a “flying disk.” The story was retracted the next day as an error and the military insisted the unknown object was an high-altitude surveillance balloon. At the time, it actually didn’t get much press. It wasn’t until the late 70’s when UFO expert Stanton T. Friedman interviewed Major Jesse Marcel who was involved with the original recovery of the debris in 1947 and it was his statement that the military had covered up the recovery of an alien spacecraft including alien life forms that led to the urban myth about Roswell. 

Sound Barrier Broken

On October 14th, Captain Chuck Yeager became the first person to break the sound barrier test flying an experimental rocket called the Bell X-1 in California at a speed just over Mach 1 at an altitude of over 40,000 feet.

Polaroid Demonstrates its First Camera

The Polaroid first appeared in February 1947 when its inventor, Edwin Land, demonstrated it during a meeting at the Optical Society of America. It was the first “instant” camera as it could take and develop a black and white photo in just 60 seconds! Seems funny considering how instantaneous our phone cameras are now.

CIA is established

Generated as a peacetime, non-departmental intelligence organization, the CIA was created when President Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 on September 18th.

“Miracle on 34th Street” premiered

The Classic holiday film premiered in May and created a Christmas/Santa Claus explosion! Based on the story of “Kris Kringle” and his determination to prove that he was the real Santa Claus while working as a Macy's department store Santa, the story was a huge hit and has remained a holiday classic ever since.

First Of The Dead Sea Scrolls Found in caves near Jerusalem.

They had great significance historically and religiously because they include the second-oldest known surviving set of works included in the Hebrew Bible, along with extra manuscripts that acted as evidence of the diversity of the area and further proof of events from that time period.

Everglades National Park was dedicated in 1947

President Truman was a huge proponent of creating protected wildlife areas that were named National Parks.

The Royal Wedding

Before she became queen, Princess Elizabeth married the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip in 1947.

Inventions of 1947

The Frisbee was invented! Walter Fredrick Morrison originally sketched a design for an aerodynamically improved flying disc that he called the Whirlo-Way, but renamed them the Flyin-Saucer in the wake of reported unidentified flying object sightings.

One of the world's first digital computers, called ENIAC, was turned on and remained in continuous operation until October 2, 1955.

Artificial Intelligence is first realized with the invention of a programmable digital computer that used mathematical reasoning. This inspired scientists to begin discussing the possibility of building an electronic brain.

Mobile phones were invented in the 1940’s when engineers working at AT&T developed cells for mobile phone base stations:

Holograms were discovered by mistake by the Hungarian scientist, Dennis Gabor, while working on a project to improve the quality of electron microscope imagery.

Popular Toys in 1947

Most of the toys of 1947 were based upon realism and creating items that encouraged children’s imaginations while prepping them for their adult lives…

Doll houses or other Play sets: the ideal way for kids to play make-believe. Whether it be a doll house, a fire station, a farm play set, etc, children loved pretending to be the versions of themselves they created for the miniature dolls/figurines.

Toy phone: made to resemble the family phone, children loved playing with this facsimile while pretending “house”.

Pedal Cars: Built out of America’s love of the automobile, pedal cars were highly sought after toys for kids and helped enhance children’s physical skills as they raced one another down the street, pedaling as fast as they could.

Pull toys: Generallywooden and simple, pull toys included things like dogs, ducks, cars, trucks, all things that encouraged children to use their imaginations. 

Model Trains: One of the first electric toys ever created was by the Lionel Train Company. Originally created as a window display item for a high-end shop in New York, the general population was so excited by the concept of the model train that they wanted version of it for themselves. It ran on batteries and was fueled by the over-all love of the railroad industry. It became almost an over-night success and by 1947, there wasn’t a child in America who didn’t want a Lionel Electric Express for themselves. Since then, over 50 million Lionel Train sets have been sold world-wide!

Steel Pogo Sticks: consisting of a pole with a handle at the top and footrests near the bottom with a spring located somewhere along the pole. Still exists today, but often seen in extreme sporting events.

Slinky: the metallic never ending curl of fun became popular for its ability to perform a number of tricks, such as travelling down a flight of stairs end-over-end and its appeared ability to levitate for a period of time as it moved from one height to another.

Tonka Trucks: Made of pressed steel and named after the Lake Minnetonka, the Tonka truck company had a reputation for durability and realism. The toys mimicked real-life construction and transportation with everything from semis, wreckers, dump trucks, fire trucks, and forklifts.

The quote of the year was “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” from the popular book, made later into a play, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams and that really captures the essence of that time. People were kind and it was a simpler time period, but changes were coming: big inventions and new ideas were leading the way for a technological and industrial boom. Sometimes though, just as Danielle shows Jay in Shadows of December, “new” isn’t always better and we need to be precious about the current lives we are blessed enough to lead.

Get to know the main characters Jay and Danielle and the inspiration behind their characterizations in my other blog entries.

What toys and events were popular when you were born? Wouldn’t it be fun to find out?

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M.A. Senft 

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