Carbons to Computers

Historical Timeline 1920-1929

Decade overview

The optimism of the 1920s is expressed in the dramatic growth of new office buildings in major urban centers, creating the distinctive skyline of cities such as New York.

In 1923, Nevada and Montana become the first American states to introduce old-age pensions.

Capital investments in office equipment manufacturing grow to 450 million dollars from fifty million at the turn of the century.

The crash of the stock market in 1929 signals the end of an era, as offices make the final and irreversible transition from mechanized tools to modern electrical equipment.

Corporate milestones

Norman & Hill introduce Filofax system of time organization
George Squier patents method of transmitting music over wires and forms the company that will become Muzak Corporation in 1934
First production of spiral-bound notebook
Electric printing calculator introduced
Self-winding watch patented
First version of kleenex--Celluwipes--introduced by Kimberly Clark
Swingline Company founded (originally named Parrot Speed Fastener)
Bell Telephone Laboratories founded
Single use carbon paper introduced
First Picturephone conversation held between Herbert Hoover, then American Secretary of Commerce, and Walter Sherman Gifford, president of AT&T
Raymond Loewy redesigns the Gestetner office duplicating machine, one of the first modern examples of industrial design for aesthetics as well as ergonomic efficiency
Neophone, the first all-plastics handset model for use on new automatic exchanges, introduced in Britain
Moore Corporation Limited formed (renamed Moore Business Forms, Inc. in 1945)


1900-1909 || 1910-1919 || 1920-1929 || 1930-1939 || 1940-1949
1950-1959 || 1960-1969 || 1970-1979 || 1980-1989 || 1990-


This material was generously provided by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Introduction || Birth and Growth of the American Office || Office Equipment
Office Organization || Global Office || Conclusion
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