Increased Standards of Living in the 1920's
American industry had expanded during the Great War, making weapons, uniforms, equipment etc. This expansion continued after the war, helped by America's massive reserves of raw materials and by high tariffs (import duties on foreign goods).Tariffs made foreign goods dearer, so American goods were bought. Some industries were also given subsidies (cash support), which increased their profits
greatest boom was in consumer goods, e.g. cars, refrigerators, radios, cookers, telephones etc. Ordinary people were encouraged through advertising to buy these goods and many could now afford what had been luxuries before the war. Before Mass production cars cost only $250 and now its $850. The most famous example of this method was Henry Ford's factory which was fully automated (many of the jobs done by machines).Because of mass production and automation one Model T car was produced every ten seconds.
More and more people bought their own houses through mortgages. They filled them with all kinds of consumer goods and parked their new cars in the garage.Food was plentiful and cheap thanks to the quantity of produced products on the farms.
In the theatres and "speakeasies" (secret, illegal bars) , people were entertained by "vaudeville" acts (music hall) , singers and jazz and dance bands.Thousands of black and white silent films were made in America in the 1920s, especially in Hollywood, which became the capital of the industry. In 1920s sound and color had been successfully added on a small scale. Many people had enough spare cash to invest in stocks and shares. They often made a lot more money, because as industry's profits went up, so did the price of shares.