museum review - Technologies of the 1950's
Written by Oryx
Olympic host 1972
This month is your last chance to experience a sense of nostalgia at a special exhibition at the Deutsches Museum, Munich.
On a sandbank in the Isar river in Munich sits the Deutsches Museum. With more than 100,000 objects from the fields of science and technology, the museum is one of the most important for these fields in the world.
The Fifties in Germany was an era of new technical development and intense scientific research. It was a time of awakening and of belief in a better future. The 1950s also witnessed the arrival of technology in private homes: fully automatic washing machines and hairdryers, toasters and refrigerators, record players, and television sets.
Find out how, in 1952, TV programming was broadcast daily for two hours. There were also special broadcasts, such as the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1952 and the World Cup in 1954. Although available in the USA since 1954, colour television wasn’t introduced in Germany until 1967.
The Fifties marked the economic miracle years (Wirtschaftswunder) in Germany, which not only saw the popularity of the legendary Volkswagen Beetle soar, but also the advent of mass motorisation in Germany, accompanied by an expansion of the road network. At the time microcars were very popular with new drivers; and the egg-shaped BMW Isetta bubble car with its hinged front for entry and the Heinkel Kabine are both on display.
However, the number one vehicle produced by the million during the decade was still the bicycle. A number of large and small companies took up bicycle production on a large scale after the war. Visitors to the exhibition can learn about the product innovations during this time.
Other themes covered by the exhibition include advances in cooking, radio, aviation, and natural sciences. The exhibition space is dotted with posters of the era, and touches that will give a little insight into Germany at the time, such as the nation’s first TV chef, Clemens Wilmenrod, who whetted viewer’s appetites with such exotic dishes as ‘Toast Hawaii’.
Learn about state-of-the-art technology in the 1950s and you may rediscover several sought-after and long-forgotten objects.
Games of the XX Olympiad
A great part of the visual appeal of the 1972 Munich Games was created under the direction of German designer Otl Aicher, whose strong sense of visual order and typography laid the visual foundations that all Olympics have followed.
It was Aicher who developed the very first set of the now ubiquitous pictograms – those little stick figures participating in sports – to help visitors (and athletes) find their way around.
His vision for connecting people to the Games extended to create the first official mascot, a striped dachshund named Waldi.