Media History Project
mediahst@umn.edu

1920-1929

  • 1920: The press release.
  • 1920: AT&T, GE, RCA patent agreement permits radio equipment manufacturing.
  • 1920: First cross-country airmail flight in the U.S.
  • 1920: H.G. Wells’ The Outline of History.
  • 1920: German film expressionsim is established with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
  • 1920: Agatha Christie writes first of Hercule Poirot detective novels.
  • 1920: Pittsburgh department store sells ready-made radio sets.
  • 1920: Detroit station 8MK begins regular broadcasting on August 20.
  • 1920: On Broadway, Sally features the modern, outspoken woman.
  • 1920: Pittsburgh’s KDKA begins broadcasting with election returns on November 2.
  • 1920: German psychiatrist Karl Binding calls for killing those who are “dead weight..
  • 1920: After 21 years, Japanese movie makers start using actresses.
  • 1920: Japan has become the world’s second largest book-publishing nation.
  • 1920: Hugh Lofting’s charming Story of Dr. Doolittle talks to the animals.
  • 1920: Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence depicts callous New York society.
  • 1920: Sound recording is done electrically. “Talkies” will follow.
  • 1920: Charles Jenkins invents “prismatic rings,” precursor to his mechanical TV.
  • 1920: In England, Marconi creates the first short wave radio connection.
  • 1920: Sinclair Lewis ridicules middle-class America in Main Street.
  • 1920: Start of Négritude, French language anti-colonial literary movement.
  • 1920: XWA, Montreal, begins first regularly scheduled North American broadcasts.
  • 1920: Nobel Prize in Literature: novelist Knut Hamsun, Norway.
  • 1920: Eugene O’Neill’s play, The Emperor Jones, the tale of a black anti-hero.
  • 1920: Stanley and Helen Resor introduce psychological ad research.
  • 1921: Broadcast of Dempsey-Carpenter fight widens awareness of radio.
  • 1921: Baseball’s World Series is reported by radio.
  • 1921: Deep sea telephone cable laid, Havana to Key West. Longest undersea cable.
  • 1921: With Bessie Smith’s first record, this decade will see the flowering of the blues.
  • 1921: Quartz crystals keep radio signals from wandering.
  • 1921: The word “robot” enters the language via Karel Capek’s play R.U.R.
  • 1921: Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello, Six Characters in Search of an Author.
  • 1921: Cleveland Playhouse becomes first U.S. resident professional theater.
  • 1921: D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love examines sexual, psychological relationships.
  • 1921: Western Union begins wirephoto service.
  • 1921: Nobel Prize in Literature to French novelist Anatole France.
  • 1921: Shuffle Along, an all-black Broadway jazz musical.
  • 1921: Eugene O’Neill’s play Anna Christie opens; will win Pulitzer for drama.
  • 1921: Britain gets its first radio station.
  • 1921: Skywriting.
  • 1921: Jaroslav Hašek, The Good Soldier Švejk, satire of World War I.
  • 1921: Photographs can be transmitted by wire across the Atlantic.
  • 1921: Arnold Schoenberg develops 12-tone music notation.
  • 1921: Radio becomes family fun as hobbyists turn in headphones for speakers.
  • 1921: Public address amplifiers and loudspeakers are used in military ceremony.
  • 1921: Sergei Prokofiev’s opera, The Love for Three Oranges, is performed.
  • 1921: At the movies: Chaplin’s The Kid and Valentino’s The Sheik.
  • 1921: Many radio licenses are issued. Many radio “firsts,” especially in sports.
  • 1921: Hendrik Willem Van Loon’s The Story of Mankind is widely read.
  • 1922: In one year, from 80 radio licenses to 569.
  • 1922: Only three frequencies available in U.S.
  • 1922: Katherine Mansfield’s short story collection, The Garden Party.
  • 1922: American introduces radio to the Philippines.
  • 1922: Nervous Hollywood censors itself with own film review board, the Hays Office.
  • 1922: 100,000 radio sets manufactured in U.S.
  • 1922: Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover holds first of four radio conferences.
  • 1922: Paul Klee paints Twittering Machine.
  • 1922: T.E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”) privately publishes Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
  • 1922: A commercial is broadcast. U.S. radio will be built on “toll broadcasting..
  • 1922: Muzak, developed by George Squier.
  • 1922: Herbert Kalmus introduces two-color Technicolor process for movies.
  • 1922: Joyce’s Ulysses develops stream-of-consciousness writing.
  • 1922: T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land considers the sterility of modern life.
  • 1922: Nobel Prize in Literature: dramatist Jacinto Benavente, Spain.
  • 1922: Eugene O’Neill’s play The Hairy Ape, a comedy of ancient and modern life.
  • 1922: Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus argues that much of philosophy is nonsense.
  • 1922: 15-year-old Philo Farnsworth designs a television “image dissector..
  • 1922: Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha searches for the meaning of life.
  • 1922: German historian Oswald Spengler completes The Decline of the West.
  • 1922: The BBC goes on the air.
  • 1922: Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion.
  • 1922: Movie tickets sold weekly in the U.S.: 40 million.
  • 1922: Emily Post publishes Etiquette, 627 pages of advice.
  • 1922: The Reader’s Digest begins its monthly run.
  • 1922: First licensed educational radio station: WOI, Ames, Iowa.
  • 1922: Germany’s UFA produces a film with an optical sound track.
  • 1922: Singers desert phonograph horn mouths for acoustic studios.
  • 1922: Little Orphan Annie enters the comic pages.
  • 1922: The first portable radio. Experimental car radio.
  • 1922: On a Schenectady, NY, station, the first radio drama is presented.
  • 1922: Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt adds a name to the lexicon of insults.
  • 1922: Comic Monthly magazine reprint of comic strips foreshadows comic books.
  • 1922: New York Philharmonic concert is broadcast.
  • 1922: RCA radio-faxes a photo across the Atlantic Ocean in six minutes.
  • 1922: Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North is the first feature film documentary.
  • 1922: Emmanuel College in Michigan is first school to get a radio license.
  • 1922: Ku Klux Klan at height of ability to terrify African-Americans, supporters.
  • 1923: Argentine poet, critic, short-story writer Jorge Luis Borges’ first book.
  • 1923: Vladimir Zworykin patents electronic camera tube, the iconoscope.
  • 1923: Ribbon microphones become the studio standard.
  • 1923: Neon signs.
  • 1923: Kodak manufactures a 16 mm movie camera for amateurs.
  • 1923: A picture, broken into dots, is sent by wire.
  • 1923: A book, Crystallizing Public Opinion, helps give stature to public relations.
  • 1923: Nobel Prize in Literature to Irish poet W.B. Yeats.
  • 1923: A.C. Nielsen Company measures radio audiences for advertisers.
  • 1923: In the U.S., creation of the National Association of Broadcasters.
  • 1923: Shaw’s St. Joan argues that she had to die; the world was not ready for her.
  • 1923: 16 mm nonflammable film makes its debut.
  • 1923: Half a million radios are sold in U.S., a five-fold increase in one year.
  • 1923: “Jelly Roll” Morton composes jazz.
  • 1923: A speech by President Warren Harding is broadcast.
  • 1923: Several radio stations hook up by phone to form a temporary network.
  • 1923: Harlem’s Cotton Club presents all-black entertainment to all-white audiences.
  • 1923: Time, the weekly newsmagazine.
  • 1923: H.V. Kaltenborn does radio commentary on WEAF until he angers AT&T.
  • 1923: Reversal film eliminates negatives, eases home movie photography.
  • 1923: Novelist Willa Cather and poet Edna St. Vincent Millay win Pulitzer Prizes.
  • 1923: Kodak introduces home movie equipment.
  • 1923: Darius Milhaud’s ballet, Creation of the World.
  • 1924: Edna Ferber’s Pulitzer Prize novel, So Big.
  • 1924: King George V speech broadcast over BBC radio.
  • 1924: Bell system has more than 15 million telephones.
  • 1924: Sean O’Casey’s play, Juno and the Paycock.
  • 1924: On Broadway, operettas Rose Marie and The Student Prince.
  • 1924: Low tech achievement: notebooks get spiral bindings.
  • 1924: E.M. Forster’s novel about British colonial mentality, A Passage to India.
  • 1924: Herman Melville’s 1891 Billy Budd finally published; will lead to opera, film.
  • 1924: Nobel Prize in Literature to Polish epic poet Wladyslaw Reymont.
  • 1924: Eugene O’Neill continues to dominate theater drama with Desire Under the Elms.
  • 1924: Ottorino Respighi composes The Pines of Rome.
  • 1924: Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain.
  • 1924: P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves, punctures pompous British upper class.
  • 1924: In Germany, the first precision 35 mm still camera, a Leica.
  • 1924: Radio program sent coast-to-coast over telephone lines.
  • 1924: Founding of Simon & Schuster, book publishers.
  • 1924: Radio hook-ups broadcast Democratic, Republican conventions.
  • 1924: The Eveready Hour is the first sponsored radio program.
  • 1924: At KDKA, Conrad sets up a short-wave radio transmitter.
  • 1924: E. Howard Armstrong builds first portable radio, a gift to his bride.
  • 1924: The first Walt Disney cartoon, Alice’s Wonderland.
  • 1924: Daily coast-to-coast air mail service.
  • 1924: In New York, the Juilliard School of Music opens.
  • 1924: In the U.S., 1,400 stations are broadcasting to 3 million radio sets.
  • 1924: Almost daily sports broadcasts.
  • 1924: K. Jansky’s radio astronomy reports of “star noise” published, ignored.
  • 1924: George Gershwin writes his symphonic jazz Rhapsody in Blue.
  • 1924: Pictures are transmitted between London and New York.
  • 1924: Two and a half million radio sets in the U.S.
  • 1924: All-electric recorder and phonograph are built.
  • 1925: Commercial picture facsimile radio service across the U.S.
  • 1925: Der Prozess (tr. as The Trial) by Franz Kafka.
  • 1925: Alban Berg’s Wozzek removes tonality from opera.
  • 1925: The Scopes “monkey trial” is broadcast.
  • 1925: Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy.
  • 1925: The Goodyear blimp floats ads through the sky.
  • 1925: Expatriate American poet Ezra Pound begins his Cantos.
  • 1925: John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer, a novel of life without meaning.
  • 1925: Random House begins book publication.
  • 1925: Western Electric creates Vitaphone, a sound-on-disk film system.
  • 1925: A British radio broadcast is heard in the United States.
  • 1925: From the new Soviet Union, Dmitri Shostakovich, First Symphony.
  • 1925: Harold Ross starts The New Yorker.
  • 1925: Electrical recordings go on sale.
  • 1925: Virginia Woolf’s novel, Mrs. Dalloway.
  • 1925: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, a novel of the tragedy of success.
  • 1925: Grand Ole Opry begins in Nashville as “WSM Barn Dance..
  • 1925: Thomas Mofolo’s Chaka the Zulu is written in the Sotho language.
  • 1925: Arrowsmith, a novel by Sinclair Lewis of a life devoted to medicine.
  • 1925: Charlie Chaplin’s film, The Gold Rush.
  • 1925: Romani (Gypsy) writers union is founded in Soviet Union, then is suppressed.
  • 1925: The first volume of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, written in prison.
  • 1925: Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin establishes film montage technique.
  • 1925: George Bernard Shaw wins Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • 1925: Earl Biggers introduces the fictional detective Charlie Chan.
  • 1925: In London, the demonstration of a televised image. The first image:$.
  • 1925: A moving image, the blades of a model windmill, is telecast.
  • 1925: From France, a wide-screen film.
  • 1925: Transcontinental radio hook-up carries Coolidge inaugural to 24 stations.
  • 1925: Ben-Hur costs nearly $4 million, an unheard-of price to make a movie.
  • 1925: The first broadcast soap opera: The Smith Family.
  • 1925: John Logie Baird demonstrates first TV system, using mechanical scanning.
  • 1925: Warner Bros. starts experiments to make “talkies..
  • 1925: From Nashville, the “Grand Old Opry..
  • 1926: The first featherweight phonograph stylus.
  • 1926: Kodak manufactures 16 mm film stock.
  • 1926: Commercial picture facsimile radio service across the Atlantic.
  • 1926: Will Durant’s The Story of Philosophy will sell millions of copies.
  • 1926: Some radios get automatic volume control, a mixed blessing.
  • 1926: The Book-of-the-Month Club starts: cut-rate books by subscription.
  • 1926: A.A. Milne writes of Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh, and Piglet.
  • 1926: The Scholastic Aptitude Exam (SAT) is administered.
  • 1926: In U.S., first 16 mm movie is shot.
  • 1926: Burma Shave signs dot U.S. highways.
  • 1926: Playwright Sean O’Casey, The Plough and the Stars.
  • 1926: Kafka, The Castle.
  • 1926: Swing music originates in New York.
  • 1926: The first radio jingle is for Wheaties.
  • 1926: Sigmund Romberg composes The Desert Song.
  • 1926: Ernest Hemingway’s first novel, The Sun Also Rises.
  • 1926: Ring Lardner, The Love Nest and Other Stories.
  • 1926: Robert Goddard launches the liquid-fuel rocket.
  • 1926: Paul Henry de Kruif’s Microbe Hunters is surprising best seller.
  • 1926: Sinclair Lewis wins Pulitzer for Arrowsmith, refuses it.
  • 1926: Enough Rope, Dorothy Parker’s first book of verse.
  • 1926: Rudolf Valentino funeral hysteria, suicides, show emotional power of film.
  • 1926: Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot is produced posthumously.
  • 1926: Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart bring The Girl Friend to Broadway.
  • 1926: Nobel Prize in Literature: novelist Grazia Deledda, Italy.
  • 1926: Martha Graham, barefoot, leads American modern dance movement.
  • 1926: NBC is formed and takes over AT&T Red Network.
  • 1926: Charles Jenkins transmits TV signal between cities.
  • 1926: Edna Ferber’s novel Show Boat will become Broadway musical, hit film.
  • 1926: Don Juan, the first publicly shown “talkie,” premieres in New York.
  • 1926: Bell Telephone Labs transmit film by television.
  • 1926: Coin-operated radios in public places, 5 minutes for 5 cents.
  • 1926: Unregulated radio stations drown each other out, beg for government controls.
  • 1926: Poet Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues.
  • 1926: Weather map is televised experimentally.
  • 1927: Advertising locks in as the economic base of U.S. radio broadcasts.
  • 1927: BBC commissions a music composer, Gustavu Holst.
  • 1927: NBC begins a second radio networks, NBC Blue.
  • 1927: The Literary Guild book club.
  • 1927: CBS is formed. Radio broadcasting is becoming a mass medium.
  • 1927: New U.S. Federal Radio Commission regulates radio transmission, not content.
  • 1927: Electric plugs and single knob tuning make radio listening more than a hobby.
  • 1927: Live test TV by mechanical scanning, 2” x 2.5”, of Herbert Hoover’s face.
  • 1927: Sinclair Lewis attacks religious hypocrisy in Elmer Gantry.
  • 1927: Grand Ole Opry debuts.
  • 1927: Kafka’s novel Amerika is published three years after his death.
  • 1927: The film Napoleon tries wide-screen and multi-screen effects.
  • 1927: Nobel Prize in Literature: philosopher and essayist Henri Bergson, France.
  • 1927: On Broadway, Jerome Kern’s Showboat puts blacks, whites on stage together.
  • 1927: Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time will help found modern existentialism.
  • 1927: Philo Farnsworth assembles a complete electronic TV system.
  • 1927: Jolson’s The Jazz Singer is the first popular “talkie..
  • 1927: The Hardy Boys series of novels for boys.
  • 1927: Movietone offers newsreels in sound.
  • 1927: Rose Bowl game is broadcast.
  • 1927: Hermann Hesse’s novel Steppenwolf, a fable about the split in human nature.
  • 1927: U.S. Radio Act declares public ownership of the airwaves.
  • 1927: Negative feedback makes hi-fi possible.
  • 1927: Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey.
  • 1927: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is founded.
  • 1927: John Logie Baird sells first recorded TV images, 30-line Phonovisor.
  • 1927: In Paris, Marcel Proust completes his 16-volume Remembrance of Things Past.
  • 1927: Two-way AT&T radio phone service, U.S. to London, $75 for 5 minutes.
  • 1928: The teletype machine makes its debut.
  • 1928: Rudolf Carnap, Logical Structure of the World, logical positivism philosophy.
  • 1928: In Germany, Fritz Pfleumer creates audio tape: magnetic powder on paper, film.
  • 1928: Television sets are put in three U.S. homes, programming begins.
  • 1928: General Electric builds a television set with a 3” x 4” screen.
  • 1928: Baird invents video disk to record television; sends TV signal across Atlantic.
  • 1928: Gershwin’s tone poem, An American in Paris.
  • 1928: Advertising agencies are producing most sponsored network programs.
  • 1928: Maurice Ravel composes his best known work, Bolero.
  • 1928: Anthropologist Margaret Mead startles readers with Coming of Age in Samoa.
  • 1928: First Oscars (for 1927 and 1928): Wings, Emil Jannings, Janet Gaynor.
  • 1928: Also at the movies: Chaplin’s The Circus, 7th Heaven.
  • 1928: Nobel Prize in Literature: novelist Sigrid Undset, Norway.
  • 1928: O’Neill’s play, Strange Interlude.
  • 1928: Voice of Firestone on NBC.
  • 1928: NBC creates permanent trnscontinental radio network.
  • 1928: Decline and Fall, Evelyn Waugh’s satiric novel about British upper crust.
  • 1928: Stephen Vincent Benet writes the Pulitzer winning poem, John Brown’s Body.
  • 1928: Home radios use ordinary electric current instead of batteries.
  • 1928: Disney adds sound to cartoons; Steamboat Willie introduces Mickey Mouse.
  • 1928: In an experiment, television crosses the Atlantic.
  • 1928: The newest dance craze: the Charleston.
  • 1928: The Oxford English Dictionary, begun in 1858, is finished: 15,487 pages.
  • 1928: Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover will be banned for years over sex content.
  • 1928: In Schenectady, N.Y., the first scheduled television broadcasts.
  • 1928: Amos ‘n’ Andy broadcasts to huge audiences. Even movies are interrupted.
  • 1928: Syndication of recorded shows begins with Amos ‘n’ Andy.
  • 1928: Times Square gets moving headlines in electric lights.
  • 1928: IBM adopts the 80-column punched card.
  • 1928: Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht break theater’s 4th wall: The Threepenny Opera.
  • 1928: Daven mechanical TV disk can scan 3 standards: 24, 36, and 48 lines/sec.
  • 1928: Experimenter Charles Jenkins heralds future of television as “radio movies..
  • 1929: Erich Maria Remarque’s pacifist novel, All Quiet on the Western Front.
  • 1929: In London, the first TV station is built, experimental transmission only.
  • 1929: Sinclair Lewis’ novel, Dodsworth, explores the pain adultery can bring.
  • 1929: Founding of the Vienna Circle; it will influence philosophy.
  • 1929: Experiments begin on electronic color television.
  • 1929: The Museum of Modern Art opens in New York.
  • 1929: Oscars for 1928, 1929: The Broadway Melody, Warner Baxter, Mary Pickford.
  • 1929: Also at the movies: The Divine Lady, The Patriot, In Old Arizona, Alibi.
  • 1929: Telegraph ticker sends 500 characters per minute.
  • 1929: The Rise of the Goldbergs on NBC.
  • 1929: The first 4-color comic publication, The Funnies, but not quite a comic book.
  • 1929: Ship passengers can phone relatives ashore.
  • 1929: Brokers watch stock prices soar, crash on an automated electric board.
  • 1929: Something else new: the car radio. But you have to stop to mount an antenna.
  • 1929: Zworykin demonstrates the kinescope cathode ray tube for TV receivers.
  • 1929: Phonograph manufacturers phase out hand-cranked models.
  • 1929: German novelist Thomas Mann awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • 1929: Popeye the Sailor and Tarzan swing into the comic strips.
  • 1929: Television studio is built in London.
  • 1929: President Hoover’s has a phone on his desk; he had used a booth in the hallway.
  • 1929: Bell Labs produces color TV mechanically.
  • 1929: 24 frames/second established as sound motion picture camera standard.
  • 1929: The film Hallelujah introduces post-synchronization.
  • 1929: The Charles Boni Paper Books have paper covers.
  • 1929: Thomas Wolfe’s novel, Look Homeward, Angel, desperation to leave small town.
  • 1929: Les Paul, age 14, creates forerunner of the electric guitar.
  • 1929: William Faulkner’s novel The Sound and the Fury: a family falls apart.
  • 1929: Archibald Crossley starts a radio network rating service.
  • 1929: Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms extends his reputation.
  • 1929: Winston Churchill completes 4-volume The World Crisis, about WW I.
  • 1929: Air mail is flown from Miami to South America.
  • 1929: Bertrand Russell shocks tradition with Marriage and Morals.
  • 1929: Hollywood makes its first original musical, The Broadway Melody.
  • 1929: “Prime time” enters the radio lexicon.