Happy New Year! We hope the passing of 2023 brings you health and happiness in the new year.
As collectors, each new year brings the items we love to collect one step closer to the coveted “antique” status that comes with the century marker. Therefore, this is a good time to look back at and celebrate the items made, discovered, and invented a century earlier in 1924, and the people and events that now define that era, referred to as The Roaring Twenties; a decade marked by mass consumerism fueled by rapid economic growth, social change, and new stylings in everything from music to fashion, art and design
Several famous people who would go on to play a significant role in our history and popular culture over the next century were born in 1924, including Marlon Brando, Lauren Becall, Jimmy Carter, James Baldwin, and George H.W. Bush, while others including Vladimir Lenin, Woodrow Wilson, and Franz Kafka, died. Nineteen twenty-four was also the year J. Edgar Hoover was appointed head of the FBI, George Kelly of the New York Giants became the first player to hit home runs in six consecutive games, and the Statue of Liberty was declared a national monument by President Calvin Coolidge.
The year also saw breakthroughs in science and technology and inventions furthering medical research. Scottish inventor John Logie Baird became the first person to produce a live, moving, grayscale television image from reflected light (the world’s first rudimentary TV images) by pioneering implementation of a thallium sulfide (Thalofide) cell, and German psychiatrist Dr. Hans Berger invented the first human electroencephalogram, or the EEG, a technique for recording the electrical activity of the human brain from the surface of the head. Astronomer Edwin Hubble formally announced the existence of other galactic systems at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society based on the expanded vision of our universe and the first diesel-electric locomotive entered service in the Bronx, New York City.
Nineteen twenty-four is also a year marked by geopolitical changes after years of conflict around the world. Adolf Hitler was sentenced to prison for his involvement in the failed coup d’état by the Nazi Party, Mahatma Gandhi was released from jail, Horacio Vásquez Lajara won a presidential election that ended the U.S.’s eight-year occupation of the Dominican Republic, and The Immigration Act of 1924 (The Johnson-Reed Act) passed, limiting the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. That same year, the Russian city of St. Petersburg was renamed Leningrad (this remained the name of the city until 1991 when it was changed back), trade agreements and peace treaties were formed among countries around the world, and the first Winter Olympic Games were held in Chamonix, France.
Closer to home “The Navigator,” one of the highest grossing films in 1924, was released, Macy’s held its first Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Robert Frost, the first crossword puzzle was published by Simon & Schuster, Ford Motor Company manufactured its 10 millionth automobile, and the first Negro League World Series as held.
The year also introduced many new consumer products that today, a century later, are still part of our everyday life. Here are just a few of the items and brands that turn 100 in the coming year, officially becoming “antiques”:
- The spiral-bound notebook: Credit goes to Edward Podosek, an English inventor with numerous patents to his name.
- ‘Breakfast of Champions’: Originally introduced as Washburn’s Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes in 1924, Wheaties, the “Breakfast of Champions,” emerged as a pioneering brand of American breakfast cereal.
- Kleenex: Introduced by Kimberley-Clark on July 12, 1924, Kleenex represented the first marketing of a disposable paper-based facial tissue in the Western world.
- Band-Aids: Though invented in 1920, it wasn’t until 1924 that Johnson & Johnson began mass-producing the adhesive bandage brand known as Band-Aid.