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

By Sarah Norman | May 8, 2024

Sophia Loren makes a long distance phonecall

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.

test article image
source: reddit

Today, through the help of chat apps, social media, and affordable cellphone plans that keep the world connected, long distance phone calls aren't as exciting or as expensive as they used to be. In 1963, international direct dialing from London to Paris became a thing, with calls to Amsterdam coming shortly afterwards.

By 1968, folks across the westernized world were able to reach out and touch on another with their voices on demand. This was a completely mind-blowing advancement in technology that remained a must-have until the 2000s when coast to coast calling became the norm.

We take soft contact lenses for granted now, but in the '60s they were something to marvel at

test article image
source: Reddit

Contact lenses have been around since the 19th century, but it took nearly one hundred years before they were anything other than hard pieces of glass that you had to precariously shove in your eye. Ouch. In 1971, soft contact lenses were brought to the masses by Bausch & Lomb, Incorporated. This was a huge game changer for people who didn't want to wear glasses but also didn't want to have a giant piece of glass stuck to their eyes.

It's hard to comprehend how exciting this invention must have been for people now that we regularly have laser surgery performed on our corneas and toss contacts after every use.