Inventions Of The 1920s

By Martin Gilliard

A warm welcome to the inventions of the 1920s page. On this page I list some of the most important, famous and interesting inventions that occurred back in the 1920's. 

It was in the early twentieth century when many professional, science based inventions started appearing.

Inventions were no longer limited to the sole inventor, often inventions would be created by large, well-educated teams that worked together as teams in research laboratories.

The 1920's are often referred to as the 'Roaring Twenties' due to a period of sustained economic prosperity. Many of the inventions created during this period were thought to kick start the modern world as we know it.

Inventions of the 1920s include:

American Hammond Organ

The American Hammond organ worked via a rotating tone wheel and a permanent magnet.

Band Aid

The adhesive bandage which is still popular today for covering graze and cuts. It was invented by Earle Dickson who was an employee of Johnson & Johnson.


(Photo Credit: Brandon Martin-Anderson)

Car Radio

Refined in 1929 by Paul Gavin, people started to add them to their existing cars so that they could enjoy radio broadcasts while driving

car radio

Cipher Machines

For example the German Enigma, the British Typex and the American Sigaba which at the time were all considered impenetrable to code breaking.

Dynamic Loudspeaker

A voice projection system which was patented in 1924 by two General Electric employees, Chester W. Rice and Edward Washburn Kellog.

Electric Shaver

The first electric shaver was patented by U.S. Army Lieutenant Col. Jacob Schick in 1928.


The Iconoscope and the Kinescope

These were two key inventions in order to make television a reality as they made it possible to transmit and receive pictures electronically. The first ever transmission sent in 1927 was a dollar sign. The transmission was created by Philo Farnsworth.

Leaded Petrol

This was thought to be one of the greatest inventions of the 1920’s as it was an inexpensive way to increase the octane rating which reduces abnormal combustion and improves engine operation. However, in the 1970’s people learned that the idea wasn’t so great due to the tiny lead particles that could be ingested and harming human health.

unleaded petrol

Liquid Fuel Rockets

The design for these projectiles was created by Robert Goddard in 1925


A lie detector which was invented by John A. Larson who was a medical student at the University of California

Quartz Crystal Watch

A highly accurate method for keeping time, invented by Warren Morrison while working for Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1927.

quartz watch

Shortwave Transmitter

The shortwave transmitter enabled cheap communication across long distances. This was incredibly important technology for the military as it was small enough to fit into a tank or submarine and enabled commanders to communicate to military personnel from great distances.

Tommy Gun

This was a submachine gun which was invented by General John T. Thompson

tommy gun

Traffic Signal

This invention was introduced by Garret Morgan in 1923 and was originally a simple T-shaped stop-and-go device.

traffic light

Instant Camera

Samuel Shalfrock invented the instant camera

Frozen Food

Clarence Birdseye invented frozen food.

Inventions Of The 1920s Video

Here's a mildly entertaining video I found on youtube of inventions from back in the twenties...

Other Historic Ideas And Inventions

If you're interested in viewing other ideas and inventions from history you might want to take a look at the New Product Ideas From History section of the web site.

It houses a collection of product ideas that were submitted pre 1964. Some of them are now commonplace today, others are no longer relevant due to changing technologies. There are many interesting ideas listed here some of which may just inspire you towards a new great idea.

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