During any period of time, the financial health of individual families often determines how much time people dedicate to hobbies. Key inventions and political decisions, meanwhile, make certain hobbies popular with large sections of the population. In the 1920s, the invention of the washing machine and other practical items improved the quality of life and allowed more time for hobbies. Hobby and leisure spending increased by 200 percent during the 1920s, according to Encyclopedia.com.
Listened to the Radio
Technological advancements of the 1920s quickly entered into people’s hobbies. Radio and motion picture technology allowed access to new sources of entertainment. Movies were very popular, often attracting 50 million viewers to theaters per week, Encyclopedia.com reports. Listeners enjoyed music, baseball games or other programming on home radios. More than 12 million households owned a radio by the end of the decade, according to the History channel. Telephones also became more readily available in homes across the country, as chatting with friends or family on the phone became a pleasant pastime.
Hit the Road
The invention of the Model T Ford triggered a car manufacturing boom during the late 1920s, and other models quickly followed. This allowed people to travel quickly, easily and for longer distances, and enabled them to pursue their interests in the privacy of their own vehicle. It also gave rise to the phenomenon of driving as a leisure activity in its own right. On these "Sunday drives," families drove just for the pleasure of traveling together, often without a fixed destination in mind. There were more than 23 million cars in America by the end of the 1920s. Most of these were owned by middle- and upper-class families, Encyclopedia.com reports.
Prohibition -- or the ban on alcohol -- was perhaps one of the most defining moments of the 1920s. The ban had such unexpected consequences that consumption and production became one of the decade’s most notorious hobbies. When alcohol usage became illegal in America on January 19, 1920, supporters hoped the ban would encourage buyers to instead spend money on food, entertainment, clothing and hobbies. However, the ban on alcohol made drinking even more popular, and many Americans went to great lengths to find ways to obtain or make their own alcohol. Former saloons turned into underground speakeasies, and people from all classes began co-mingling in secret to enjoy recreational drinking.
The suffrage amendment of 1920, which gave women the right to vote, marked a turning point for women of the era. Women felt less dependent on men than in previous generations, and many began to dramatically shift their style of dress and choice of hobbies. The term flapper was used to describe women comfortable with flaunting not only political freedoms, but more provocative styles of dress and movement. Young single women increasingly frequented dance halls or nightclubs. Many men and women of the 1920s experimented with spirited styles of dance and enjoyed attending public dances sponsored by local groups.