Middle Class Culture in 1900 1. Life felt optimistic a. New materialism, vacations, leisure time were all available to the middle class b. America was the world’s most affluent country c. Automobiles, indoor plumbing, and electricity were not widely available but were coming d. phonographs, light bulbs, typewriters, machine guns, skyscrapers, telegraphs, diesel fuel, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, microphones, and aspirin. In 1900, a train could bring you the same distance in six days that a covered wagon brought you in six months. Cross-continental travel became easy for almost anyone. e. Though autos traveled twice as fast as horses, only 8,000 cars and about 10 miles of paved roads existed in 1900 America. Adding to the technological fervor, that years Paris Exposition showed off exciting new inventions like moving sidewalks, wireless telegraphy, powerful telescopes, and the first escalator. To cap it all off, 1900 ended with the first overseas telephone call. f. Vaudeville and theater were popular, as were outdoor band concerts People played and sung the music of John Philip Sousa and Scott Joplin in concerts and at home — the popularity of sheet music and home pianos meant that many across the country were now singing the same songs. Phonographs and records also provided music for those who could afford it. Movies became wildly popular when available, although they were actually short, seconds-long films called "views." The idea of "motion pictures" was dazzling to Americans in 1900. g. The American Dream, Horatio Alger myth, driven by Protestant work ethic h. - first time personal hygiene ads become popular: soap was one of the first products to be soled nationally, many brands = flooded market -to differentiate brands each company tried to promote a lifestyle choice with their ads -ex. Sapolio soap slogan: “The first step away from self-respect is lack of care in personal cleanliness . . . You cant be healthy, or pretty, or even good, unless you are clean.” -ads with exotic flavor = popular -America was the largest commercial manufacturer in domestic and foreign markets -magazines/newspapers most popular place for ads -1825: fewer the 25 magazines in America, 1850s: 600, 1900: 5,000 -tech advances in printing/distribution = drop of cover price, higher literacy rate = growing readership -new market = many more product choices -1908 50% of mag = ads -new commuter class gave rise to billboard ads, street cars, train “car cards”
became new outlets for ads2. Work in the Industrial Revolution a. Tycoons made fortunes, the poor made $1-2 dollars per day for 12-16 hour work days b. Andrew Carnegie-23 million, average worker $400 c.