A new SFO Museum exhibition at San Francisco International Airport offers a fun look at products offered to consumers during the 1950s, when a wave of consumerism spread across the United States.
From the exhibition notes:
“Driven by a thriving postwar economy, designers utilized bold styling to transform everyday objectsinto visually expressive items. Manufacturers unleashed an array of products tokeep pace with demand. Stores carried everything from portable televisions andpocket-sized radios to space-age toys and plastic dinnerware sets. Many familiesadorned their homes with modern furniture and automatic, push-buttonappliances. Consumers began to purchase items because they were the latest and greatest things.”
“Advertising and credit replaced rationing and restraint, and a growing number of middle-class families engaged in a spending spree. Shopping centers and indoor malls with vast, paved parking lots catered to new suburban housing developments that extended from cities and towns. Often located at the intersections of major roads and highways, shopping centers offered easy access to a multitude ofsupermarkets and stores.”
“At home, television exerted a profound influence on the development of a consumer-based popular culture. TV lamps glowed atop television sets while families ate pre-packaged TV dinners on Melamine trays. Networks divided viewers into target audiences and advertisers spent large sums to promote their products. Official toys and games were marketed alongside children’s programs. Elvis Presley performed tomillions of TV viewers, launching rock ‘n’ roll into the mainstream and a craze for 45-RPM records. From tabletop jukebox selectors and portable record players to battery powered robots and space-themed lunchboxes, this exhibition presents examples of futuristic styling and innovative marketing from the golden age of consumerism.”
The Modern Consumer – 1950s Product and Style is on display post-security in Terminal 3 at San Francisco International Airport 3 through October 2019.