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This is What Life Looked Like 50 Years Ago


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The world and society are constantly changing, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst. A lot of people refer to the past as the “good old days.” These photos prove just how different life was like 50 years ago. We’ll let you decide if it was “better” or not.

You Could Only Get Cash at a Bank

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Before 1967, people would have to make a trip to their bank to get cash out. The first ATM was introduced by Barclays in London. However, the machines didn’t come to the US until 1969.

You Couldn’t See a Rated “R” Movie

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Before 1968, movies were not rated. This meant that they were all family friendly. However, in November 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America put a rating system in place that consisted of four ratings: G, M, R, and X.

The Beatles Were Insanely Popular

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Imagine having The Beatles playing in stadiums around the world and producing new music that played on the radio. Back in the 1960’s, The Beatles were taking the world by storm. Unfortunately, the band didn’t stay together for too long.

The Moon Was a Mystery

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It wasn’t until 1968 that humans put foot on the moon. Before Apollo 11’s moon landing, the moon was just a big rock in the sky.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Didn’t Exist

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Martin Luther King Jr. was an iconic and important figure during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. However, declaring MLK Jr. Day wasn’t done until 1983 when President Ronald Reagan made it a law.

Housing Discrimination was Legal

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Imagine being denied housing because of your race, gender, sexual orientation, or a disability. It was completely legal until the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968. Now it is illegal to discriminate against people when buying, selling, or renting a house.

People Married Young

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Back in the 1960’s couples would get married much younger. The median age for men was 23 and women were 20. Presently, the median age when women get married is 26.5 and men get married around 28.7.

Presidential Candidates Didn’t Have Secret Service

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It wasn’t until Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated that presidential candidates received secret service protection. Congress passed a law stating that presidential candidates were required to protection in 1968.

The Drinking Age was 18

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People could drink much earlier than they can now. Instead of waiting until they were 21, the legal drinking age was 18. That means they could legally drink in high school during their senior year. The legal age was raised in 1984.

Interracial Couples Weren’t on TV

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Before the famous kiss between William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols on Star Trek, interracial relationships were not televised. In fact, when the scene aired NBC was worried that viewers in the South would raise issue with it.

Seatbelts Weren’t Required

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The first thing we do when we get in a car is put our seatbelt on. Well, 50 years ago not all cars had seatbelts for every seat. The law requiring seatbelts wasn’t passed until 1984.

Flying Was a Luxury

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Before Boeing released the Boeing 747, flying was a luxury that only the elite could afford. After 1969, air travel became more affordable and accessible to the rest of America.

They Didn’t Have 911

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The emergency line 911 wasn’t created until 1968. The three numbers were chosen because there were no area codes in the country that contained 9-1-1.

Paint Contained Lead

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Lead paint was used to paint homes, schools, and just about anything else. When it was discovered just how harmful lead was to children, it was banned in 1978. Nowadays, if a homeowner knows about any lead paint in a home they are selling, they must disclose it to the buyer.

Telephones Didn’t Have Buttons

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The numbers on a telephone weren’t buttons. Instead, it was a rotary that you would have to spin. This takes much longer than just pressing a few buttons.

You Couldn’t Walk and Talk on the Phone

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The cordless phone wasn’t invented until 1965. Before that people had to stay in one place when they talked on the phone. However, cordless phones didn’t become popular in the 1980s.

Local Calls Didn’t Require an Area Code

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If you wanted to call someone in your town, you didn’t have to dial the area code. So, only 7 digits were required to make a call. It wasn’t until the 2000’s that you had to start dialing the area code.

Credits Cards Were Basically Handed Out

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Credit cards were just handed out to people. In fact, people would receive active credit cards in the mail even if they didn’t sign up for them. In 1970, the Unsolicited Credit Card Act was put in place.

Chicken Pox was Deadly

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The vaccine for chicken pox wasn’t created until 1995. Before that, approximately 100 children would die from the illness every year in the US.

The Catholic Church Agreed with Birth Control

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Before Pope Paul VI released his Humanae Vitae in 1968, the Catholic Church was okay with the idea of contraceptives. After this publication, they changed their stance and doubled down on the use of birth control.

US Presidents Had Never Resigned

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Before 1968, each and every US President had either finished his term or died in office. It wasn’t until Richard Nixon’s term that the first president resigned from office.

Soda Cans Had Pull Tabs

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To open a can of soda, you would have to use a pull tab, which came off of the can. Since beaches were littered with the sharp metal, the push-through tab was invented.

Ads for Cigarettes Were Televised

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Before 1970, cigarette brands were able to advertise their cigarettes on television and radio commercials. The commercials were banned to keep young kids from thinking smoking was okay.

Loan Lenders Could Discriminate

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Loan officers were able to deny people loans based on their gender, race, national origin, marital status, or religion. When the Equal Credit Opportunity Act was passed in 1974, this discrimination became illegal.

Nobody Thought About Skin Cancer

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Sunscreen was invented in the 1940s, but the SPF was very low and hardly effective. It wasn’t until 1978 that the FDA set requirements for sunscreens after realizing just how dangerous sunbathing was.

Playgrounds Were Dangerous

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The equipment on playgrounds weren’t the safest for children. Slides were made of metal, which became very hot in the sun. Tire swings were homes to various spiders and insects too.

Asbestos Was Used

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Many buildings were insulated with asbestos until it was banned by the EPA in 1973. Asbestos is the cause for many lung problems in construction workers that worked with the material.

Kids Didn’t Want to Take Vitamins

Macintosh HD:Users:brittanyloeffler:Downloads:Upwork:50 Years:24-flintstones-vitamins-flickr-mike-mozart.jpg It was always a struggle for kids to take their vitamins in the mornings. However, when the Flintstones vitamins hit shelves in 1968, kids were more excited to take their vitamins.

Depression Was Untreated

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There wasn’t a drug to help people who suffered with depression until 1987. This means that millions of Americans had to suffer from untreated depression for decades.

The Internet Didn’t Exist

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The Internet wasn’t invented until 1969 when the very first message was sent through the Interface Message Processor (IMP.) It was initially used for government communication.

Liposuction Didn’t Exist

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If you wanted to drop some fat, you had to do it the old fashioned way; diet and exercise. It wasn’t until 1974 that Giorgio Fischer invented liposuction, which provided fast results for fat loss.

Computers Were Enormous

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Computers needed more than just a desk to sit on. They took up entire rooms before the 1970s. It wasn’t until the 1980s that people were able to buy their own computers for their homes.

Car Seats Weren’t Regulated

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Children’s car seats were unregulated until 1971. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration required all seats to have a seatbelt and the ability to strap the child into the car seat.

Contact Lenses Weren’t Created

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Before the modern contact lens was created, they were made of glass and were terribly uncomfortable. So, people opted to wear eyeglasses. The soft lenses were created in 1971.

Babe Ruth Had the Most Home Runs

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Babe Ruth held the record for making the most home runs until 1974. Baseball player Hank Aaron was the first to break Ruth’s record. Then in 2007, Barry Bonds broke the record with 755 home runs.

WalMart Was a Small Business

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Opened in 1967, WalMart was just a small business. The Walton Family opened just 24 stores before it grew to what it is now.

2Chinese Products Were Rare

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During the Korean War, items that were made in China were rare in the US. It wasn’t until President Nixon connected with China again in the 1970s that trade was opened back up.

Only Three Major TV Networks Existed

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Before 1986, the three major networks on television were NBC, CBS, and ABC. Fox came on the air, but wasn’t considered a major network until the 1990s.

Iran and America Were Allies

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Before the Iranian Revolution in 1979, America and Iran were allies. Tensions just grew worse after the Iranian Hostage Crisis. We still feel the effects of these diplomatic problems.

The Vietnam War Was Happening

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The Vietnam War was heavily protested during the 1960s and early 1970s. It was violent and many people didn’t believe the US should be involved. The conflict lasted for almost two decades.

There Was an Active Draft

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From 1940 to 1973, the US had an active draft. This meant that if you were called to serve in the army, you absolutely had to. Muhammad Ali avoided the draft due to his religious beliefs and was convicted of draft evasion. The conviction was later overturned.

Environmental Awareness Wasn’t Around

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Before the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970, nobody thought about the effects humans had on the environment. After the EPA was created, regulations were put in place to help keep the earth clean.

Nobody Bought Bottled Water

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The only beverage Americans would buy in a bottle was soda or beer. It wasn’t until 1977 when Perrier created a massive campaign about bottled water that people started buying it.

Black Women Didn’t Serve in the US Senate

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The US Senate 50 years ago was mostly made up of white men. It wasn’t until 1992 when Carol Moseley Braun became the first black woman to sit in the Senate.

Corporal Punishment Was Used in School

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The Eighth Amendment about cruel and unusual punishment was not honored when it came to corporal punishment in schools. Students would be physically harmed for disciplinary actions.

Radio Was the Only Transportable Music

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Forget about having a Bluetooth speaker to play music anywhere. 50 years ago people could only transport music with their radio. They couldn’t even play the music they wanted to hear.

Sports and Politics Were Separate

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Rarely did politics make its way into sporting competitions. It wasn’t until the 1968 Olympics when Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave the Black Panther salute that politics started to become involved.