IntroductionWhen most people think of the 1920s or 30s they think of jazz music or dance marathons, but the 20s and 30s were full of creations beyond those trends. They were full of new scientific and technological inventions and advancements. From the new use of the radio to aid in communication, to some of the most famous medical cures in all of Canadian history.
Today will we look to answer this question. How did the major scientific and technological inventions impact Canadians in the 1920s and 30s?CommunicationOn Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Fessenden was the first person to transmit his voice through a radio. The first practical radio system was then invented in the 20s. There was an abundance of small, busy, radio stations that transmit live productions. There was music, comedy, dramas and much more. However, the Canadian population prefered American stations as programs in Canada didn’t have the same production value.
In the end of the 1920s, 80% of the Canadian population listened to American stations.In 1925, the Canadian National Railways Radio Department broadcasted live plays, and eventually, in the 30s, there were even stations spoken in French and English. As the population started discovering what they were interested in, stations began focusing solely on one genre of broadcast. When programs could be recorded and shared from one station to the next, it became much easier for Canadians to listen to their favourite American programs while still supporting Canadian stations.Imagine a world with no texting, facetiming or even calling a friend for help, it’s hard right? We rely so highly on our devices that it’s almost impossible to imagine a world without them.
Well, only ¼ of Canadians owned a telephone at the beginning of the 1920s, and it wasn’t as convenient to use as it is now. It took until 1924 for the first no crank phone to be invented here in Toronto, and then until 1927 for the ear and mouthpiece to be connected into one single device. By the end of the 1920s, ? of Canadian homes had a telephone and could call friends and family in the United States as Canada gained access through Europe. In 1931, we could then make direct calls between the states and Canada.HSThe creation of the radio and the telephone were extremely significant in improving communication within and outside of Canada. The radio not only shared important news and information quicker than journalism did, it also brought people together. It was something the whole family could do as their were programs offered to every age and interests.
The radio also commenced the movement of large-scale broadcasting and the telephone made it possible to share intimate news between family and friends. Nowadays we get our information from our smartphones, through youtube, online newspapers and on TV. In the 20s and 30s, if something important happened in your life, there was no way of telling people unless you sent them a letter, which could take days or weeks or even months to get to your friends or family. The radio and the telephone revolutionized communication by linking regions together.
Medical The discovery of insulin, creation of pablum and surgery used on epileptic patients advanced the medical field in Canada significantly.In the summer of 1921, Dr Frederick Banting, along with students from the University of Toronto, began experiments to find the cure for diabetes. It all started with Banting’s idea, that if the pancreatic ducts that allow for the flow of external secretion from the pancreas were blocked, then the internal secretion of the pancreas could continue to produce a substance that controls a body’s levels of sugar. In order to do so, Banting took cells from the pancreas of a dog and the substance, later known as insulin, was injected into other dogs. The results took a while to see, but eventually, on the 11th of January 1922, insulin was injected into the first human, Leonard Thompson, an 11 year old boy. The next medical advancement came in 1930, when Dr Alan Brown, Dr Frederick Tisdall, Dr Theodore Drake invented Pablum a dried and precooked food for infants. Pablum, latin for foodstuff, was full of minerals, had a good taste and digested easily, all of which made for a perfect food for babies.
It’s main goal, however, was to be a source of vitamin C to babies, preventing rickets, a disease many children suffered from. In 1931, Wilder Penfield conducted experiments on patients brains. He found that when certain parts of the brain were stimulated by an electrode, the patient could remember details of events they hadn’t been able to remember before the surgery. So, in 1933 Penfield used the same concept, except this time he stimulated parts of the brain of those with epilepsy until they could remember the moment right before their last seizure.
Once found, Penfield would destroy the part of the brain were the seizures were caused.HSThere was no cure for these diseases and disorders until these inventions, they have saved countless lives. These discoveries have also helped put Canada on the map. We’ve shown the world how we can save lives in and out of the war, we’re smart, creative and are always on the lookout for new possibilities to help people. Medical advancements in Canada opened up new markets based on healthcare and created a demand for these medical products throughout Canada, helping other sectors of our economy.ConclusionThe major scientific and technological inventions impacted Canadians in the 1920s and 30s by improving communication and health. Communicative devices such as the radio and the telephone allowed for large-scale broadcasting and easier contact with family and friends. Inventions like insulin, pablum and cures for epilepsy saved countless lives of Canadians and proved to the world just how smart we are.
Perhaps now when you think of the 1920s and 30s in Canada, you will think of names like Frederick Banting and inventions like the radio as highly as you do the counterculture movement and group of seven.