Everyday Marvels: The 20th Century Inventions We Can't Imagine Life Without

May 10, 2024

The Slurpee was a must have at every trip to 7-Eleven

Today we're surrounded by technology that would have sent our brains buzzing in the middle of the 20th century. Whether you were born in the post-war boom or on the edge of the new millennium everyone has become so used to modern technology that we've lost the wonder that makes it so special.

A lot of the amazing concepts that we're surrounded with today, from smartphones to blockbuster franchises, come from the 1960s and '70s. At the time, each new thing that found its way to consumers felt like a breath of fresh air. It's a shame that they're taken for granted today. Let's look back at some of the most mind-blowing inventions of the groovy era and see how they're still making waves today.

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It's no surprise to see a Slurpee machine (or one of its many knock-offs) in a gas station or movie theater today. Sugar lovers shell out for a sweat, icy drink in dozens of flavors like it's nothing, but when Omar Knedlik introduced the Icee machine in 1960 (built from an old car air-conditioner) it was a revolution.

In 1965, 7-Eleven agreed to sell the drink under the name "Slurpee" and they were off to the races in markets across North America. Young people were quickly obsessed with the Slurpee. They wanted to know how it stayed so cold and how it managed to hold its cola and cherry flavors so well, but today people don't think twice about these culinary mainstays.

Color TV allowed viewers to see life in all its glory

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Color TV is so ubiquitous today that it's hard to imagine a time when everything was broadcast in black and white, but up until 1979, there were still a few stations broadcasting super gray versions of everyone's favorite television shows. That just wouldn't fly today.

RCA and CBS were both working towards color tv in the late '40s, with CBS boasting color programming by 1951, but color television sets were rare for the first few years of this technology that we take for granted today. In 1961, the premiere of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color finally convinced consumers to go out and pick up brand new televisions.