Once a young woman got married, it was taken for granted that she would give up her career ambitions. It was the husband's job to provide for his family.
The money she spent was given to her as an allowance. She spent her days maintaining the home and caring for the children. Even her social activities were homemaker-oriented: attending Tupperware parties, hosting dinner parties, going to PTA meetings, throwing birthday parties for the kids, and gathering in a neighbor's kitchen for coffee after getting the kids off to school.
Many women found the life of a homemaker quite fulfilling. For others, there was the growing sense that there should be something more....
Getting together for coffee and a Beeline Home Fashion Show
Remember when our Christmas trees were loaded with gobs of icicle tinsel? Which method was better? Laying the icicle strands on the branches one by one, or throwing it on by the handful?
In the old days, icicle tinsel was made of expensive shredded silver. Tinsel manufacturers switched to lead foil and aluminum-coated paper in the 1920s. The new materials were cheaper to produce and resistant to tarnishing. This resulted in an icicle tinsel craze that lasted until the 1970s.
Aluminum was highly flammable and was eventually abandoned for tinsel use. Lead tinsel was fireproof, more attractive and easier to drape over branches. In the 1950s, it became the most common tinsel material.
By the 1960s, metalized plastic tinsel was also available. This product consisted of lightweight plastic strips coated with a non-toxic metal finish. Although not as popular as lead tinsel, it sold relatively well thanks to new health concerns about lead poisoning.
Stylish Christmas trees displayed liberal amounts of flocking. A flocked tree was sprayed with a fluffy fiber concoction to simulate snow. Most flocking was white, but it wasn't unusual to spray your tree with other colors, especially pink and blue.
Shiny-Brite Christmas tree ornaments
Big colored lights
Electric candles glowing in the window
Aluminum Christmas trees were popular from the 1950s to the late 1960s. They were assembled from strips of aluminum-coated paper, which made them highly flammable. Regular lights and electric wiring were a safety hazard, so aluminum trees were lit from below with a spotlight and revolving color wheel. Sometimes the tree itself revolved.
It has been said that the 1965 television special A Charlie Brown Christmas, with its negative view of aluminum trees, was indirectly responsible for the decline of the industry in the late 1960s. The burgeoning back to nature movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s also caused shiny metal trees to fall out of fashion at this time.
groovy! In the late 1960s, the mod and hippie movements were starting to have an effect on mainstream society. Posters, products, fashions and home decor were becoming decidedly more groovy.
fear of the bomb In the early 1960s, the cold war of the 1950s was still very real, and still very frightening. Certain public areas were designated as fallout shelters, and the Emergency Broadcast System conducted tests on radio and TV. Some people purchased or built bomb shelters for their own homes. Bomb shelter mania hit its peak in 1961.
the milkman A familiar sight in the 1960s was the milkman, driving around in his Divco truck, delivering fresh dairy products right to your front door. Some local dairies still have home delivery, but their numbers are dwindling.
A well-decorated lobby and an attractive receptionist made a positive first impression
office dictation Dictation machines used several recording formats in the 1960s.
The oldest technology in use was the plastic disc. The Gray Audograph and Edison Voicewriter used discs. Edison's discs were red.
The Dictaphone used blue plastic embossed belts. Portable machines held one belt, while larger models held two belts for up to an hour of recording time. President Johnson recorded many of his speeches and phone conversations on a Dictaphone.
IBM dictating machines used magnetic belts. These belts were not grooved, but were coated with iron oxide like a cassette tape. The sound quality of an IBM recording diminished over time.
Cassette tapes were developed in 1957 for use with dictating machines. In 1963, the Phillips and Norelco Compact Cassette machines were a popular office choice.
office copying Before the 1960s, all office documents were copied using either carbon paper or a mimeograph machine. Both systems had their drawbacks. Carbon paper couldn't produce large numbers of copies, and typing errors couldn't be erased. Mimeograph machines used messy, smelly chemicals.
Photocopier technology was first developed in 1938. This process uses static electricity, chemically-treated zinc plates and special powders to make copies. The system was perfected and the first photocopier machine went on the market in 1959. This was the Haloid Xerox Model 914.
In 1961, Haloid Xerox changed its name to Xerox Corporation. 40 companies had photocopier machines on the market by the mid 1960s.
document preparation Electric typewriters were first manufactured in the 1920s, but didn't become widely used in the office until the 1950s and 1960s. IBM introduced their hugely successful Selectric typewriter in 1961. This revolutionary machine replaced the moving carriage and typebars of a regular typewriter with a fixed carriage and typeball.
Documents were typed on electric typewriters and stored in metal file cabinets. If your secretary wasn't transcribing dictation from a machine, she was using shorthand and a steno pad to take live dictation.