The 1930s were ushered in by America's Great Depression and ended with the start of World War II. In spite of the hardships brought about by these events, the decade was fairly productive in terms of inventions. From new foods to industry advancements to innovative gadgets, the 1930s saw the invention of many products still popular in 2011.
1930 to 1931
The 1930s started off well for the food industry. In 1931, Clarence Birdseye introduced his new frozen foods to the market, and Ruth Wakefield invented both the chocolate chip and the chocolate chip cookie. Fiberglass first hit the market that same year, and Julius Nieuland first produced the synthetic rubber neoprene. Also in 1931, Ernest Lawrence invented the cyclotron, also known as the atom smasher, and Jacob Schick invented the electric razor.
1932 to 1933
Edwin Land's invention of polarizing glass occurred in 1932, as did the isolation of vitamin C and the development of the first vaccine for yellow fever. George Blaisdell's Zippo lighter and Charles Goetz's spray can for whipped cream are also products of 1932. Charles Darrow invented Monopoly in 1933, the same year that FM broadcasting was developed and Carlton Magee invented the first parking meter.
The year 1934 saw the invention of George Nissen and Larry Griswold's modern trampoline. Also that year, Wallace Carothers first produced nylon; later in the decade, nylon would be used to produce toothbrushes and stockings. The year also brought about the invention of Cat's Eye road studs--reflectors that helped drivers see and stay inside lanes. Charles Richter developed his Richter Scale to measure the strength of earthquakes in 1934.
1936 to 1937
George Brown invented the turnstile antenna, used in TV and FM broadcasting, in 1936. That summer, the Tampax company produced the first tampon. In 1937, the jet engine was invented. Earlier in the decade, Karl Landsteiner received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering blood types. In 1937, Bernard Fantus put his discovery to good use by developing the first blood bank to store and preserve donor blood.
1938 to 1939
The decade winded down with the invention of several everyday products. In 1938, Chester Carlson invented the photocopier, Laszlo Biro invented the ballpoint pen and Nestle developed instant coffee. The electric guitar went on the market in 1939, along with paperback books. DDT, a pesticide that is now banned, was invented that year, as well as the first commercial helicopter.