Trials, tribulation and ultimate triumph shaped the two decades that brought America through the Great Depression and World War II.
The Great Depression devastated every segment of society. For 40 million people, poverty was a way of life as unemployment reached 25 percent. Half a million businesses failed, including hundreds in the music products industry. Those that survived adopted a “we’ll try anything” approach.
By the mid-thirties, President Roosevelt’s National Recovery Act was turning the nation’s economy around. Then the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The production of most consumer goods, including musical instruments, stopped as the country retooled for war production.
By the time World War II ended in 1945, the pent-up demand for goods sent sales soaring. The decade ended on a high note.
Salaries, for those who kept their jobs during the Great Depression, were cut by as much as 75%.
Playing bridge, collecting stamps and listening to the radio were favorite Depression-era pastimes.
The 1939 New York World’s Fair, dedicated to the wonders of technology, was called “The World of Tomorrow.”
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